George Russell Calls Out The FIA Stewards To Use ‘little bit of common sense’ After Fernando Alonso Penalty
George Russell believes the FIA stewards need to use some common sense when it comes to issuing penalties, specifically referring to the one that cost Fernando Alonso his podium in Saudi Arabia.
George Russell stated that there have been conversations about the penalties from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. He added that they will need to find a solution to it.
Asked by Sportskeeda how the penalty issue could be sorted out and how he felt about both Esteban Ocon and Alonso’s penalties, George Russell said:
“I understand why these rules are there. At the end of the day, we have to stick within the guidelines but a little bit of common sense needs to be shown. Ultimately, I think he was a bit to the left, was that right? He gained nothing from this.
"Perhaps five seconds is too much and then with regards to his pit stop again, I don’t know what happened and why he received a further penalty exactly. But you know 10 seconds is too extreme in that case again. So I'm not too sure it's just making it a little bit, I guess, frustrating for everybody.”
Interestingly, these comments were made by Russell despite benefitting from the penalty to Alonso as the British driver was promoted to the third place.
"Fernando and Aston Martin deserved the podium today but I’m very happy to pick up our first trophy of the season and super proud of the hard work the team is putting in. Let’s keep pushing." Russell said in an instagram post after he was first notified he had been promoted to P3.
Fernando Alonso, who finished third in the race, was demoted from his podium, with a 10-second penalty slapped on him after the race. Initially, the Spaniard was given a five-second penalty due to his car being placed incorrectly in the grid box.
Subsequently, he was given a 10-second penalty for not serving the previous one correctly. Empathising with the Spanish champion, George Russell felt both penalties were harsh and not justified, and believes the FIA stewards need to be reasonable with their judgements.
The Briton also mentioned that there has been a conversation amongst the drivers and FIA about times being deleted for touching red paint after the qualifying of the Saudi Arabian GP.
Overall, the Mercedes driver felt the FIA and drivers had to find a common solution on the issue, so that it doesn’t compromise a race result severely.
About ongoing conversations on the subject of penalties, Russell answered a question from Sportskeeda in the post-qualifying press conference, saying:
“There were a lot of conversations going on this weekend about which lines you could touch and which lines you couldn’t touch, especially at the pit exit and on the pit entry. And then again, as I said in qualifying yesterday, we saw a number of cars getting their laps deleted for touching a bit of the red paint, ending the lap. And I thought that was a little bit senseless really. We all need to come together and find a common center ground.”
On whether it is easy for a driver to determine whether their car is correctly slotted into the grid box, George Russell felt it isn't. In fact, according to him, it is extremely difficult to determine whether a car is correctly placed.
Reiterating the need to apply more common sense, the Briton lamented the poor visibility from the car when it came to viewing grid boxes or lines on the track.
Asked how difficult it is to see the grid box from the car, Russell said:
“It's incredibly difficult. We're sat so low and to put some perspective, we only see probably the top four or five inches of the tyre so you can't actually see the ground itself. We've got these big long yellow lines pointing out… I can't even see the yellow line, let alone the white lines determining your lateral position. It’s really, really tough, so that's why I think in this regard, we need to show a little bit more common sense.”
Similar to Alonso’s penalty, Esteban Ocon faced a sleuth of penalties throughout the Bahrain GP compromising his race result. The problem with the Spaniard’s penalty was their decision, which came almost 30 laps after his pit stop, and did not allow him to strategize his race and retain his result.
Alonso was eventually awarded back P3 after the FIA realized they messed up, and thats all thanks to the FIA not knowing it's own rules, maybe Russell is on to something.