It is understood that tensions rose during an animated drivers’ briefing on Friday evening, with the consistency of F1 stewards’ application of the rules this season highlighted as a concern. 

Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel was handed a suspended €25,000 fine for “expressing frustration” as he stormed out of the meeting “without permission”.

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F1’s officiating and consistency has been a regular flashpoint of debate ever since the sport lost long-serving and highly respected race director Charlie Whiting, who died on the eve of the 2019 season. 

Whiting was succeeded by Michael Masi, who lost his job following a string of controversies that concluded with his incorrect application of the rules during a late Safety Car in Abu Dhabi that altered the outcome of the 2021 world championship. 

Following Masi’s dismissal, the FIA appointed two race directors - Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas - to rotate the role for the 2022 season.

Fernando Alonso said he was left “confused” by F1’s racing rules at last weekend’s British Grand Prix and revealed he would seek clarification over what he felt was double standards regarding how similar incidents were judged. 

“There’s a lot of borderline decisions or manoeuvres this season, whether it’s defending, whether it’s track limits in a racing scenario like Silverstone,” Russell said after Saturday’s sprint race at the Austrian Grand Prix. 

“We don’t want to be dishing out penalties left, right and centre but there needs to be an element of consistency somewhere and I think we need to look at the root cause of the issues.”

Asked if the rotation of race directors was a problem, Russell replied: “Yes, I do agree that we need to stick to one race director.

“We need to have a bit more consistency with the stewarding. We come to the following event and often the steward in the previous event is not there. So there's no accountability, no explanations of decisions.

“We ask questions, and it's difficult to get a straightforward answer because almost the blame is being put onto somebody else who isn't there.

“It is tricky. Everybody’s got their own interpretations.”

Russell admitted that the decision to rotate race direction has been questioned by the drivers and team principals over the first 10 races of the season. 

“I think it’s been mentioned a couple of times,” Russell added. “[Friday] was just one meeting that we were talking about specific topics. 

“But over the course of the year, a number of drivers commented on that. I think when you've got one race director, things can generally be more consistent.”

When asked if the drivers feel listened to, Russell said: “We do feel listened to, but they can't just change the rules week in, week out when one driver pipes up and says ‘I think this, I think that’. 

“They do need to stick to their guns. But it just needs to be enforced consistently, it needs to be clear to all of us. The penalties need to be a bit more consistent.

“That will only come if there's consistency from the people policing the regulations.”