Formula 1 drivers have expressed concerns over the inconsistencies in decisions taken by race control during the Australian Grand Prix. Three red flags and a safety car finish contributed to issues with a lack of consistency in the way that decisions were taken, said Alexander Russell, a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association. Issues arose with a lack of dialogue and consultation with drivers that led to hard overtaking and induced a lack of excitement in the sport. Drivers needed more consultation with FIA executives to iron out issues, argued Russell.
Russell feels that drivers need more consultation; currently, it is disappointing that they are not part of the loop to influence decision-making, as evidenced by the lack of input into changes to DRS zones, which have been shortened without consultation.
Russell said, “I’m not even sure the FIA are aware that we feel that the overtaking is harder, yet they’re basing the DRS off historic information.” With better collaboration, there is a chance for drivers and FIA executives to improve the sport’s excitement factor while improving safety. “We’re all in this together, and we only want the best for the sport,” added Russell.
He argues that inconsistency leads to difficult and challenging circumstances whilst racing; consistency would be ideal, and any deviation should be explained. Russell concluded, “If they’re consistent, that’s absolutely fine. But it’s the inconsistency that makes it challenging for the rest of us.”
Russell suggests that drivers could talk to the FIA about the DRS issue, as it affects overtaking. “We just want to be kept in the loop whenever these decisions are being made and to have an opinion or share a thought that can contribute towards their decision. That’s a process that we still need to work on because clearly, we’re all in this together, and we only want the best for the sport.”
The GPDA was formed in 1961, and its drivers aim to improve safety on the track, ensure a level playing field for drivers, and ensure that drivers’ rights remain protected.