Russell: Turkey conditions not what F1 is about

George Russell, Turkish Grand Prix, Sunday 15th November 2020. Istanbul, Turkey.

The slippery surface at the Turkish Grand Prix went too far in making the race a “lottery” for Formula 1 drivers, says Williams’ George Russell.

An issue from the first runs in Friday practice that only got worse with inclement weather on Saturday and Sunday, the Istanbul Park Circuit’s recently-resurfaced track provided historically-low levels of grip.

Across the weekend, there was not a single driver who did not suffer a mishap at some point, with Russell – who crashed on his way to the starting grid – suggesting after the race it was nothing short of chaos.

“This weekend has not been really what Formula 1 is about,” he said. “I’m sure the show looked great, and I’m sure I would have loved watching it from my sofa at home.

“The lap time varies by two to three seconds a lap, if you get the tyres working or not – it’s unbelievable.

“It’s just been a lottery for everybody out there. I love driving in wet conditions, but this was just something else.”

Expanding further on the conditions, Russell suggested the cars were actually better off-track than on.

“The biggest factor, without a shadow for a doubt, was the new resurfacing,” he explained. “From what I hear and I understand, it all had to be done very last minute, and the Turkish corporation or whoever ran the race did a really good job to get everything done in time, and they were delayed by some really poor weather.

“It was like driving on sheet ice, and actually the times I went off the track onto the old concrete, I had much more grip than I did [on the track].

“The concrete apron in the pit lane, which is normally incredibly slippery compared to the track, had a hell of a lot more grip than the actual race track.

“I don’t think a single driver enjoyed these conditions.”

And while the result for F1 fans was an exciting grand prix in a season that has often seen races decided by the end of the first lap, Russell maintained the unpredictability in Turkey was simply going too far.

“If you want chaos and carnage, and drivers being made to look like idiots, there are other categories and sports out there you can go and watch,” he said.

“Formula 1 is about the best cars, the best drivers, the best teams going to the best tracks, and showing what they can do. This weekend was not that.

“I’m sure I would have loved it from the sofa, but there’s got to be maybe a midpoint that I’m sure F1 can learn from, and we’re not just going here and rolling the dice week in, week out.”