George Russell speaks out against sprint races as F1 and FIA draw battle lines over growing dispute

·1-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

George Russell has criticised Formula One’s ongoing push for more sprint races in the wake of the first one of the season at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Three are scheduled for the 2022 calendar and there is a push from teams to double that to six, which was unanimously agreed in a meeting of the F1 Commission in London on Wednesday.

But battle lines have been drawn over the plan with the FIA having refused to sign it off, in what is believed to be a row over money.

The sprint races have added a new dimension to a grand prix weekend since their introduction last season but Russell, who finished 11th in the shortened race at Imola on Saturday, said he was not behind the push for me.

“I’m not a major fan of it in all honesty,” he said. “It needs to probably be 50 per cent longer or just that little bit longer to see the tyres degrading. The drivers maybe need to manage the tyres a bit more and then you can see a bit more of a difference between cars.”

“At the moment, everyone is just going flat out and there’s not a big enough lap time difference to see those overtakes, unless you qualify out of position like you saw with some cars.”

The FIA has reportedly asked for millions of pounds to agree to doubling the sprint races, arguing it adds costs to the hosting of a race weekend.

One source at the meeting described the FIA block as outrageous and a joke of a request, over a format which has been well received by racegoers and, judging by television viewing figures, fans worldwide.

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