Should George Russell have received a penalty for changing wing-spec in Austria?

George Russell admitted to using a different wing-spec for the Sprint race than he did for qualifying.

The Mercedes F1 Team and George Russell in particular have managed to avoid what would’ve been a costly penalty at the Austrian Grand Prix, after it was revealed that the Brit had used a different wing-spec for Saturday’s Sprint race.

Russell finished a superb 4th in the Sprint, meaning he will line-up from there for the traditional Sunday race.

The British driver himself admitted that he had used a different wing-spec than he had in Friday’s Qualifying session, but also revealed he didn’t want to race with it.

“I had a different rear wing today a rear wing we probably wouldn’t have chosen to race with, but in terms of lap-times was very similar to what we would have wanted,” Russell confirmed after the sprint.

Mercedes have managed to get away with the rear-wing change due to a special rule in the regulations.

The team had no choice but to make the change, following Russell’s and Sir Lewis Hamilton’s crashes in Q3.

Mercedes didn’t have another wing of the same spec available to fit, meaning one with higher downforce had to be fitted to the former Williams driver’s car.

The German side brought three-wings of the spec they wanted; however, two were damaged in the crashes, with the third being fitted to Hamilton’s car.

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As a result, Russell’s W13 had to be fitted with whatever rear-wing the team had available to them.

Usually this would result in a penalty, but Sprint weekends work differently.

Parc Ferme rules come into effect from Friday Qualifying onwards during a Sprint weekend; however, there is a rule which allows certain changes to be made should a team not have enough parts.

The rule in question states: “Exceptionally, at an event where a sprint session is scheduled, replacement parts that are different in design will be permitted provided that the part is of a specification that has been used previously in a qualifying practice session or a race.”

This was deemed legal by the FIA, as the different rear wing had already been used at some point during the season.

Had it been a normal weekend, then Russell would most likely have faced a pit-lane start for Sunday’s race.