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George Russell of Great Britain and Mercedes looks on in the Pitlane during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 10, 2022 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
(Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

‘It’s not enough’ – George Russell criticises F1’s pre-season test limit

The Mercedes star believes F1 drivers deserve more time behind the wheel before the season starts

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As the 2023 Formula 1 season approaches, drivers are gearing up for the challenges ahead. One driver who is speaking out about the limitations he faces is MercedesGeorge Russell

George Russell inspecting the Mercedes W14 ahead of the 2023 season
George Russell inspecting the Mercedes W14 ahead of the 2023 season | Credit: Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team

Formula 1 currently limits pre-season testing to just three days in order to level out the playing field. Restricting teams to just three days of testing keeps costs down, which is vital in reigning in the pack leaders Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull; who would otherwise spend a fortune, if unlimited testing was allowed like in the past. Furthermore, by limiting pre-season testing, teams are forced to be more creative and work harder to extract every last bit of performance from their cars.

This year’s drivers were blessed with some extra Pirelli tire tests which means the teams were able to stretch their car’s legs a bit more than usual, however, this still isn’t enough for Russell.

Formula 1 driver George Russell lowering himself into his Mercedes W14
George Russell jumping into the all black W14 | Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team

Despite driving for a struggling team at the back of the grid for several years, the Brit believes that the limited 3-day testing is simply “not enough”. Speaking to FormulaNerds and others at the W14 launch, the 25-year-old opened up about his thoughts on the limited amount of time drivers get to practice in their cars before the start of the season.

“Personally speaking, I don’t think three days is enough,” he said.

“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 tests last week, but had we not, that would have been, I don’t know, getting on to 12 weeks out of the car from Abu Dhabi to Bahrain.”

Russell likened Formula 1 drivers to other athletes pointing out how absurd the limited time in training is.

“Could you imagine Rafael Nadal spending 12 weeks without hitting a racquet or hitting a ball and then going straight into the French Open with one and a half days of training?” he said.

“It just wouldn’t ever happen.”

At the moment drivers are forced to split their testing time with their teammates, meaning Russell has to share his time in the W14 with Lewis Hamilton. Russell believes that three days of testing with two cars would be a better compromise.

George Russell taking the W14 for its first spin
George Russell taking the W14 for its first spin | Credit: Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team

“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 we’re trying to limit it,” he said.

“But right now, one and a half days per driver I think is too few.”

Day one of the 2023 Formula 1 pre-season testing kicks off on the 23rd of February and will run until the 25th. Russell and the gang will be looking to explore and extract the most data possible out of their black W14 ahead of a season where the Silver Arrows are looking to take back their crown.

Feature image credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

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