George Russell and Fernando Alonso send warning ahead of key vote

The FIA are pushing for tyre blankets to be scrapped next season.

Ahead of a vital vote at the end of July, George Russell has warned the FIA, Formula 1 and all the teams against approving the scrapping of electric tyre blankets, following concerns by the Mercedes driver that the sport isn’t ready yet for it to happen.

Russell has tested Pirelli’s proposed 2024 tyres recently in Barcelona following the Spanish Grand Prix, whilst he also tested the rubber ahead of the season in Jerez.

Both tests were completed without tyre blankets, for Pirelli to gather data ahead of their proposed introduction for next season.

Russell, who is also a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, is “very concerned” that not using tyre blankets will cause a lot of “crashes”, due to how low the grip is when the track temperature is cool.

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He’s also not happy with mechanics being in the pit-lane with tyres which haven’t been heated, again due to how little grip drivers will initially have.

“I don’t think we as a sport are at a position yet to bring these tyres into a racing scenario,” Russell said.

“I would be very concerned for all the mechanics in the pit lane during a pitstop, I’d be very concerned for the out lap from a race in cold conditions.

“There will be crashes, I have no doubt about it. And I think there’s a lot of work, expense, and development going into these tyres. I feel like that could be put elsewhere.”

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Two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso has also criticised the idea of scrapping tyre blankets, with him not understanding the “reason why” it’s being pushed for in the first place.

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Alonso does have experience of not using tyre blankets when he’s competed at the Indy 500; however, he admitted that it’s a completely different situation given that the tyres “immediately” have a lot of energy put into them.

“Indy, I think you put a lot of energy in the tyres immediately and it was fine,” Alonso said.

“At places like Monaco, or some others…I’m not a big fan of removing the blankets, to be honest, and I don’t see the reason why.”