Russell raises safety concerns over ‘extraordinary’ F1 car weight

George Russell says he is worried that continuing to increase the weight of F1 cars risks ‘crossing the line’ and could impact safety. 
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1

Following a major overhaul to the aerodynamic regulations, F1 cars are now at the heaviest they have ever been at a minimum weight of 798kg, thanks to an increase of 3kg on the eve of the 2022 season. 

Speaking to about the regulation changes for 2022, the Mercedes driver, who is a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, revealed the concerns he has. 

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“There’s a lot of positives to take from this regulation change, but equally, the big [issue] is the weight,” said Russell. 

“The weight is extraordinary. At the moment, the low-speed performance is not great.  

“We keep making these cars safer and safer, but obviously the heavier you make them when you have an impact it’s like crashing with a bus compared to a Smart Car.  

“You’re going to have a greater impact if you’re going the same speed with a car that weights 800-odd-kgs or over 900kgs at the start of a race, compared to one 15 years ago when they were at 650kg.  

“And I’m sure there’s analysis going on about striking that right balance because I don’t know where the line is drawn.  

“If you just keep making it heavier, heavier, heavier, stronger, stronger, stronger – actually you get to a point where you cross over that [line] that too heavy is actually not safer.”  

Over the past 20 years the weight of F1 cars has risen significantly from 625kg to 798kg. 

The minimum car weight limit rose from 746kg to 749kg in 2021. The 2022 weight increase stems from larger impact-absorbing structures on the cars amid increased safety demands. 

The effects of car weight on performance proved to be one of the biggest challenges for teams in 2022 and became a major focus area for teams to gain competitiveness.

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