George Russell has called for the FIA to ditch its rotational race director system after confusion over decisions. The Mercedes rookie said “everybody’s got their own interpretations” which makes it hard for F1 to set consistent rules.
He said drivers have questioned the FIA decisions but then there is a different steward for each weekend which leads to “no accountability” over bad actions. The double race director system was introduced for this season with Michael Masi replaced by Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas.
However, when asked if F1 needs to return to having one man in charge, Russell responded: “Yes, I do agree that we need to stick to one race director.” He added: “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.”
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His comments come after a tense drivers’ briefing at the Austrian Grand Prix where the consistency of F1’s decisions was questioned. Sebastian Vettel was handed a suspended £21,000 (€25,000) fine for “expressing frustration” and storming out of the briefing.
Russell admitted teams and drivers had called for an end to the two directors system throughout the year. He revealed drivers do feel listened to but said it felt like rules were being changed “week in, week out” which was a problem for many on the grid.
He explained: “I think it’s been mentioned a couple of times. [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.
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“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.”