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Russell “nervous” penalty increase will lead to cautious racing

Russell “nervous” penalty increase will lead to cautious racing

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Williams driver George Russell has conceded to feeling nervous at the increasing number of penalties being dished out by the F1 stewards.

Grand Prix Drivers’ Association director Russell has revealed his fellow members are growing concerned in light of what has unfolded at the last two grands prix in Austria and at Silverstone.

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Penalties have been issued for what in the past have been declared racing incidents, including Russell himself for what appeared to be an innocuous contact with Ferrari‘s Carlos Sainz on the opening lap of the sprint race.

“It’s only been the last two events the penalties have really ramped up,” said Russell. “I’m a bit nervous when I see penalties dished out week in week out.

“We need to understand their [the FIA’s] views on this. It’s always fine margins on whether it’s a penalty or not. Maybe it’s just a coincidence these last two races that it’s been more than normal.”

Russell earned a three-grid place penalty for rubbing tyres with Sainz at Brooklands, leading to the Spaniard dropping back to 19th.

The Briton is concerned the consequences of the contact played a part in the penalty even though the stewards should not take that into consideration.

“I thought it was a little bit harsh,” added Russell. “It was one of those first-lap incidents, lots going on.

“I had a small lock-up, nothing malicious. I wasn’t trying to squeeze him or do anything, and I think if it had been any other corner he would have just carried on.

“We’re told the consequence of an action is never taken into consideration but it felt like in this instance it was.

“But I respect the decision and at the end of the day they’re the rule makers and we have to stand by their views.”

Russell, though, has been left wondering whether the plethora of penalties of late will ultimately have an effect on the drivers and the way they go racing.

“It’s always good for the fans, and even for the drivers, to have close, hard racing,” added Russell.

“When there are so many penalties being dished out, it does change the views of the drivers slightly of how you approach it.

“Nobody wants to just sit there and everybody be cautious because it won’t be good for anyone.”

F1

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July 22, 2021 at 01:41PM

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