Mercedes driver George Russell has called on the FIA to be bold at the 2023 Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix in the interest of safety.
There has been a lot of scrutiny of Spa-Francorchamps recently after Dilano van ‘t Hoff was killed in a Formula Regional crash in soaking wet conditions. The incident saw many ask for changes to the track to improve safety but Russell wants race control to be stronger in calling for safety cars or red flags.
There is rain forecast for this weekend, although race day looks to be mostly dry, but Saturday’s sprint could be affected by the weather as could qualifying on Friday.
“Fortunately the weather looks better on Sunday so that should go ahead,” Russell told the media ahead of the Belgian GP. “But following recent events, the FIA have to be bold with their decisions when it comes to safety.
“We know what happened two years ago and we don’t want it to be strung out like it was then.
“Everybody wants to race but when you’re going down that straight at over 200mph and you can’t see 50 metres in front of you, there will be huge distance so they’ve got a big responsibility this weekend.”
Russell took advantage of woefully wet conditions in 2021 when he was at Williams by claiming second on the grid for the Belgian GP. The race was subsequently called after two safety car laps on the Sunday in equally poor conditions.
Despite the disappointing race day, Russell still has extremely fond memories of that weekend and particularly the qualifying lap which was only beaten by Max Verstappen.
“I remember it all like it was yesterday,” Russell added. “I’ll remember that lap until the day I die.
“Turn 1, I was nice and tight to the kerb, down-shifted through Eau Rouge, Turn 14 I had a bit of a snap on entry and into the last corner, I locked my front left.
“It was a very special moment and shows just what is possible in those crazy circumstances if you do everything perfectly, it was magical.”