George Russell disagrees with FIA president

Concerns have been raised over the feasibility and impact of reducing the weight of F1 cars.

Efforts to reduce the weight of Formula 1 cars have been deemed “unrealistic” by drivers due to technological advancements and safety considerations. 

The current generation of F1 cars has seen a significant increase in weight, reaching a record minimum weight of 798kg for an empty car in 2023. 

While there is unanimous support from drivers for lighter cars, practical challenges have been identified.

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem recently expressed his personal backing for reducing the weight of F1 cars, with plans being discussed for implementation from 2026 onwards. 

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However, drivers like Red Bull’s Max Verstappen have highlighted the difficulties in achieving substantial weight reduction. Verstappen emphasized that the current hybrid engines and safety improvements make it challenging to significantly reduce the weight of the cars.

“Honestly, that’s going to be a bit unrealistic to achieve because otherwise, we wouldn’t have been this heavy anyway, right?” Verstappen said. 

“Also, in 2026 with the bigger battery, that will weigh a lot more, so I’m not sure if that’s heading in the right direction.”

Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin echoed the sentiment, supporting lighter machinery but considering the size of the cars a more significant issue. 

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He highlighted the challenges in positioning the car due to its dimensions rather than its weight. The widening of the cars in 2017 to 2m and their current maximum length of 5.63m have affected the racing dynamics.

“I think it’s more the size than the weight of the cars, which makes things a little bit more difficult,” Alonso said. 

“Into the first couple of corners in the race, it is difficult now to position the car just because of the size of it, not because of the weight of the car.”

George Russell, Mercedes driver and GPDA director, also raised concerns about the impact of weight reduction on safety. 

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He emphasized the increased forces involved in accidents and the potential damage caused by heavier cars.

“If you’re doing 100 miles an hour and you’ve got a car that weighs the same weight as a bus and you crash into something versus a Smart car, that bus is going to do more damage,” Russell said. 

“So, this is where the engineers within F1 and the FIA need to find the perfect compromise.”