George Russell makes controversial pre-season testing demand

Pre-season testing will get underway on Thursday, with the three-day test set to conclude on Saturday at the Bahrain International Circuit.

With the 2023 Formula 1 season edging ever closer, Mercedes driver George Russell has hit out at the sport’s current regulations, ahead of pre-season testing.

Unlike in recent years, pre-season testing this year will be conducted over just three days at the Bahrain International Circuit, unlike last season where three days were also completed in Barcelona.

The teams all usually get six days of pre-season testing, with an initial three days at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, typically referred to as an official shakedown, before three days of official pre-season testing in Bahrain.

However, testing has been cut in half for the forthcoming season, with the three days in Spain having been dropped, putting more pressure on data gathering in Bahrain.

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As well as this, the sport’s current regulations state that each team can only have one car on the circuit at any given time, meaning each driver actually gets about a day and a half behind the wheel.

For the drivers who didn’t take part in a recent Pirelli tyre test, testing in Bahrain will be the first time they’ve been in an F1 car since the 2022 season finale in Abu Dhabi, just a week before the season opener.

Russell wants to see the rules changed going forwards to allow the teams to run both cars instead of one, with the British driver believing that letting the teams run both cars over three days is “the best compromise” to the ongoing restriction of testing.

The British driver believes the current pre-season format isn’t right for the drivers, with it likely being something that’ll be discussed when testing gets underway in Bahrain on Thursday.

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“Personally speaking, I don’t think three days is enough,” Russell told media including RaceFans.

“You’ve got to remember from a driver’s perspective, that is one-and-a-half days per driver. We were fortunate to do the [tyre] tests last week but, had we not, that would have been getting on for 12 weeks out of the car from Abu Dhabi to Bahrain.

“I think three days with two cars would probably be a good place to be, and I think that would probably be the best compromise for all of the reasons why they’re trying to limit it. But right now, one and a half days per driver I think is too few.”