Russell: 'Extraordinary' weight of F1 cars now a safety concern

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George Russell admits that the trend towards heavier cars in Formula 1 is leading to safety concerns as an impact "is like crashing with a bus compared to a Smart Car".

The advent last year of Formula 1's ground effect cars was accompanied by an increase of the minimum weight, which was set at 798kg or a whopping 46kg gain compared to the end of 2021.

Many teams, including champions Red Bull, struggled to produce designs that hit the minimum weight, a constraint due to heavier standard parts, the introduction of F1's 18-inch wheels and new safety structures.

The increase was just another step in a trend that has been ongoing in Formula 1 since the end of the sport's refueling era in 2009.

Out on the track, while F1's new ground effect cars have produced better performance in high-speed corners, the additional mass coupled with Pirelli's front-tyre designs have led to understeer struggles in slow corners.

Russell concedes that there are "a lot of positives to take from this regulation change", but the Mercedes driver is also worried by the impact of safety of F1's ever-increasing weight limit. © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

"The big one [issue] is the weight. The weight is extraordinary. At the moment, the low-speed performance is not great," Russell said, quoted by

"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."

Russell fears that adding more weight will move cars into a worryingly unsafe territory.

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

"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."

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