FIA president backs up George Russell

Mercedes driver George Russell has been vocal in his criticism this season.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has agreed with George Russell that the current Formula 1 cars are too heavy, with them weighing 798kg.

This is 46kg heavier than they were in 2021, prior to the new aerodynamic regulations being introduced.

As a result of the cars having become so heavy, Russell – who is a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association – has described accidents nowadays as like “crashing with a bus”.

The Mercedes driver is concerned that the cars are reaching a point where they’re becoming unsafe because of their weight, despite the fact more is being done to improve driver safety.

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“The big one [issue] is the weight,” Russell told Autosport in January. “The weight is extraordinary. At the moment, the low-speed performance is not great… We keep making these cars safer and safer, but obviously the heavier you make them when you have an impact it’s like crashing with a bus compared to a Smart Car.

“You’re going to have a greater impact if you’re going the same speed with a car that weights 800-odd-kgs or over 900kgs at the start of a race, compared to one 15 years ago when they were at 650kg.”

Russell added: “And I’m sure there’s analysis going on about striking that right balance because I don’t know where the line is drawn. If you just keep making it heavier, heavier, heavier, stronger, stronger, stronger – actually you get to a point where you cross over that [line] that too heavy is actually not safer.”

Since Russell made his comments, Ben Sulayem has supported the 25-year-old, by revealing that the last thing he wanted when rallying was a heavy car.

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The FIA president insists that the governing body want to see lighter cars and that it’s their responsibility to “implement it”, not F1.

“I drove in rallies myself. Give me everything, but please no heavy car!” Ben Sulayem told Motorsport Total. “That always bothered me. Lighter cars are better and I know what I’m talking about.

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“If the weight is heavier, the suspension will be compromised, the brakes will not work as well, the tyres will wear out faster. And more weight is more dangerous in a crash.”

“I’ve already spoken to my team at the FIA. We want lighter cars and we want a better sound. That’s ultimately up to the FIA.

“If Stefano [Domenicali] wants that too, fine, then we agree on that point. But the FIA has to decide. We’ll implement it. Not, because the FOM or a team wants it that way. It’s because it’s the right thing for the sport.”