Max Verstappen and George Russell raise health concerns over ‘unsustainable’ F1 car ride height

Max Verstappen and George Russell want F1 cars to be raised amid health and safety concerns.

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15 sends sparks flying. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix,
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15 sends sparks flying. Formula 1…

Max Verstappen and George Russell have urged F1 cars to be raised after voicing concerns over driver health and safety.

The reigning world champion brought the issue up with F1’s governing body the FIA at last weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, BBC Sport report. 

Verstappen is quoted by BBC Sport as saying that the “impact is too high with the low ride-heights” when cars reach the end of the straight with full load.

The Red Bull driver said it is a problem for “our comfort, our spine, compression over the bumps” and has called for F1 to “revise that” for the upcoming 2026 regulation overhaul.

"We still run very low but I don't think the 2026 car is going to be any different,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mercedes driver Russell believes it is “unsustainable” to keep running the current generation of F1 cars so low.

"All the drivers have been speaking with F1 because it is a little bit unsustainable to keep running the cars like this," said the Briton.

"You get the most amount of performance running the car as close to the ground as possible and as stiff as possible, so you feel like your teeth are rattling out down the straight.

"The length of an AA battery is the distance we are from the ground at the beginning [of the straight] and at the end it is the size of a chickpea.

"So every single tiny bump, it goes all through your body, and we hope for the next generation of cars they find a better solution.”

Speaking to media including in Bahrain, Mercedes technical director James Allison called for “more of a balanced approach” to wake management.

"There are things in the regulations that don't serve any of us well. I don't think it's sensible to have cars that hug the ground in the way these cars hug it, and I think the idea that you get good racing by controlling wakes while ignoring tyres [is flawed].

"The whole idea of controlling wakes [is] a kind of tilting at windmills type of challenge. That side of things has been tested to destruction fairly evidently.

"I don't think there is anything wrong in particular with ground-effect floors, but the particular layout of these ones that have a response to rear ride-height that is not particularly good for the cars, that isn't something we should carry into 2026.

"Among the the teams that would be a pragmatically accepted response. I think the FIA is still very much of a mind to place wake management at the top of the tree of everything, sacrificing other stuff for it. And I think it would be helpful if there was more of a balanced approach."

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