As the director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, Mercedes driver George Russell has a unique perspective on the issues facing Formula One. In a recent interview with Crash.net, Russell addressed the increasing weight of F1 cars and the potential risks that come with it.
The weight of the cars has increased significantly in recent years due to changes in regulations concerning aerodynamics. The minimum weight for the cars was increased by 3 kilograms before the 2022 season and is now 798 kilograms. This has led to concerns about the low-speed performance of the cars and the potential for greater impacts in the event of a crash. Russell said:
“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 weighs 800-odd-kgs or over 900kgs at the start of a race, compared to one 15 years ago when they were at 650kg.”
While there are certainly benefits to the new regulations, finding the right balance between safety and performance is crucial. As Russell pointed out, there is a point at which making the cars too heavy can actually compromise safety.
“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.”
The 2023 season is set to kick off with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 5th, with pre-season testing taking place the week before. As the drivers and teams prepare for the new season, the weight of the cars will continue to be a topic of discussion as they seek to find the right balance between safety and performance.