George Russell blasts FIA over ‘crazy’ Azerbaijan GP call

The FIA made the decision to shorten the main DRS zone in Azerbaijan without the approval of the teams and drivers.

George Russell has criticised the FIA over a series of “rogue” and “crazy” calls in recent weeks, culminating in a track change in Azerbaijan that was made without consulting the drivers.

In his role as the head of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA, Russell has expressed the irritation of those on the grid after the FIA shortened the main DRS zone in Baku without securing input from the drivers.

“We can’t really be having weekends that are just totally dictated by what somebody in the race control office wants to do.

“We’ve seen a few crazy or rogue decisions being made recently. 

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“If they’re consistent, that’s absolutely fine. But it’s the inconsistency that makes it challenging for the rest of us.

“We just need a bit more of a collaborative effort to improve the sport from an excitement factor, but then also on a safety regard.

“Who better to give them feedback than the people who are actually driving the cars themselves?”

There are two DRZ zones around the street circuit in Baku – the first between turns 2 and 3 remain the same as last year but the final zone on the main straight has been cut by 100 metres.

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While the FIA haven’t explained the reason for the change, it would be reasonable to assume it has been done to reduce the ease of overtaking, something Russell believes isn’t necessary.

“Overtaking is harder this year than it’s been last year,” Russell explained.

“I think as the cars have evolved away from the initial regulations that F1 introduced, overtaking has become more difficult. 

And obviously they’re shortening all the DRS zones as well, which…the drivers have had zero input on.

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Russell will be lining up on the grid in P11 after dropping out of qualifying in Q2, while his teammate Lewis Hamilton sits further forward in P5.

However, both of the Mercedes cars are off the pace of pole sitter Charles Leclerc, as Hamilton qualified almost 1 second slower than the Monegasque and Russell was 1.4 seconds behind P1.

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix marks the first race weekend with the new race format, seeing qualifying for Sunday’s race move to Friday and the entirety of Saturday dedicated to the sprint.