George Russell slams FIA decision after Azerbaijan GP

Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix featured just 23 overtakes, the same number that occurred last season.

Last weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix certainly wasn’t one for the record books, unless the book in question is for the most boring races in Formula 1.

The Baku City Circuit is usually one of the highlights of the season, with the mix of high and low speed corners at the challenging street circuit typically resulting in plenty of action.

Alas, last Sunday was certainly not one of the highlights of the season, with the drivers having struggled again to overtake.

Interestingly, the race on Sunday had the same number of overtakes as last year’s Azerbaijan GP, an abysmal 23.

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George Russell put the lack of overtaking down to the main DRS zone on the 2.2km start/finish straight being shortened by 100m, with the Mercedes driver noting that the sport has “learned now for next year”.

“Overtaking has always been good in previous years, but we probably shortened the DRS zone too much,” Russell said.

“We’ve learned now for next year.”

Race winner Sergio Perez blamed the lack of overtaking on the cars rather than the shortened DRS zone, with the Mexican noting that the current fleet of cars are “generating a bit more downforce”, making following extremely difficult once again.

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“The cars this year are generating a bit more downforce and so the car behind struggles a little bit more to follow,” said Perez.

If the drivers are struggling to follow one another again, then this would raise questions about the aerodynamic regulations, given that they were introduced to make following easier.

Championship leader Max Verstappen also explained how difficult it is this season to follow another car, with it resulting in the drivers overheating their tyres, an issue that arose before the new regs were introduced.

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“I also think because of the weight of the cars we have nowadays, in the low speed it’s a bit harder to follow too,” said Verstappen.

“As soon as you have a tiny moment with that weight, it becomes a bigger slide, it’s harder on the tyres so you overheat the tyres more.

“I remember in 2015 or ’16, you could take a few different lines, run a kerb because the cars were a lot softer than what we run now. But it’s really, really hard nowadays because the cars just don’t allow it.”