George Russell Demands Upgrade in Safety Standards With Promising 2026 Regulations

The director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, George Russell has highlighted his concerns about the safety of the upcoming 2026 regulations.

The concerns were regarding the massively increased top speed on most circuits on the straights which is expected to touch 360kmph (223 mph). As impressive as that is, it puts the drivers at a massive risk during a collision while driving at such high speeds.

This is the concern he shared while discussing the new changes. As quoted by RacingNews365, Russell said, “I think the cars are going to take a quite a big turn in terms of how they perform.”

“You’re going to be exceptionally quick in the straights, 360 km/h probably most tracks which is pretty impressive. Obviously, then the safety needs to be probably improved because having a crash at 360 km/h is going to be pretty pretty crazy.”, he added.

There have been no fatalities in F1 since Jules Bianchi’s unfortunate demise in 2015 from an accident in Japan in 2014.

However, the speeds attained by the new changes from the smaller, narrower, and lighter cars could become a safety risk. On the flip side, the cornering speeds could massively reduce relative to the current generation of cars.

The new powerful and sustainable hybrid engine, which will produce 350kw battery power, is going to help attain the higher top speeds. The car will also be 30kgs (66 lbs) lighter. Meanwhile, the active aerodynamics in the front and rear wings will also reduce drag.

These features will reduce the cornering speeds. However, it will take a few years for the cars to get up to speed with the regulations. Russell made this claim by suggesting the cars will be as fast as the 2020 car only next year, in the last year of the current regulations.

Even though the racing will become closer and overtaking opportunities will increase, the overall speeds of the 2026 cars will be low. That could be the case at least in the first year of the regulations.

However, the Mercedes man understands it’s a compromise as they can’t have it all. So, despite the fact they will lose overall speed and downforce, there will be more competition on the track.

He gave a “fighter jet” analogy on how the new generation of cars could bring back the speed of the 2020 and 2021 cars due to the high straight-line speed. The #63 driver also gave a balanced view on the compromise they will have to make with the overall car performance.

If there is “less dirty air” due to the reduced downforce, it will help the racing. Thus, the 26-year-old is trying to point out how there are pros and cons the teams and drivers need to understand and align with. Meanwhile, the FIA is also trying to improve any aspects of the new regulations, as per the teams’ concerns.

It seems the two aspects will balance each other out. However, Russell believes the teams will try to maximize the cornering speed if they attain a better top speed on straights. Such is the competitive nature of the sport which is exactly why safety is a big concern for the Brit, as he speaks for all.



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