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George Russell addresses rumours that F1 Abu Dhabi GP could be cancelled amid Israel-Hamas war

F1 could cancel the 2023 Abu Dhabi as fighting between Israel and Hamas continues in the Gaza Strip

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George Russell admitted he’s had no contact from Formula 1 authorities over the rumoured cancellation of the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix amid the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel around the Gaza Strip.

The 2022 Saudi Arabian GP went ahead despite a rebel missile strike on an oil depot just 10 miles from the circuit after Friday practice, and the 2023 season finale also looks set to go ahead as scheduled.

Almost a month after violence erupted in Gaza with a series of Hamas attacks on Israel, there seems to be no end to the fighting in sight with the Abu Dhabi GP set for the 26th November 2000 kilometres away on the other side of the Arabian peninsula.

“I can’t speak for the other drivers but as far as I’m aware, it’s nothing that has been spoken about so far,” Russell told the media. “I haven’t spoken about it and we haven’t heard anything from other than what’s in the press from the FIA and F1.

“So I trust in their their decision if anything further needs to be discussed and I’m sure we’ll be the first to know.”

Russell: F1 has a powerful voice

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell on the stage ahead of the 2023 Japanese GP | Mercedes

Russell has been a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association since 2021, assuming the role when Romain Grosjean stepped away from the sport. That included overseeing a four-hour drivers’ meeting at the 2022 Saudi Arabian GP before F1 decided to go ahead with the event.

And at the end of his second season as Mercedes teammate to Lewis Hamilton – known for breaking the mould and shedding light on world issues outside of F1, Russell spoke further on the violence in the Middle East.

“When I grew up it was only about speed and you jump in that car or go-kart you don’t think about anything else, you just think about driving as fast as possible,” Russell added.

“And times have changed, purely in a racing sense the cars are more complex than they’ve ever been before and the way you work with your team is so different.

“The teams are larger than they’ve ever been before, we have 2000 people in Mercedes so if I was a driver equally as fast as I am today but I couldn’t work with my team or couldn’t communicate, I wouldn’t be in the position I am right now and you take that off the track.

“I think we all recognise that we have a powerful voice, you want to have a positive impact on people and especially when you see what’s going on in the world at the moment, it’s pretty devastating.

“When you take a step back sometimes and take the perspective of us all being in our own little bubble, we all think this is the most important thing in the world – not just the drivers but everyone in this paddock and actually, there’s so much going on that is truly devastating.

“I only hope that the impact we have to have a positive impact down the line.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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