Russell: Tighter T1 Algarve layout would help track limits

Formula 1

Williams driver George Russell believes that Formula 1 should have chosen the slower hairpin loop layout at the Algarve circuit’s Turn 1 for the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Russell also expects track limits to be a theme at the Algarve circuit in Portimao, which he has experienced both in an F1 test with Mercedes and F3.

The venue has two options at its first corner, and F1 will be using the simple fast righthand option rather than a tight right/left/right complex that resembles the start of the lap at Bahrain.

Russell says the latter was used in F3 after testing indicated that drivers were abusing track limits by running wide on the faster version of the first corner.

Despite his concerns Russell, who tested a two-year-old Mercedes at the circuit alongside pressent team-mate Nicholas Latifi in April 2017, is looking forward to the event.

“I’m really excited,” he said when asked by Autosport. “It’s a spectacular circuit, very undulating, a lot of blind corners, which is great, and adds a lot of character.

“Obviously I need to wait and see once I’ve driven it in a pressent car, and how it will all pan out.

“We may have some track limit issues, which I hope can be rectified before we even get there, at Turn 1.

“I know that was an issue in F3. We had a race weekend in F3 in 2015, and on the Thursday we had a test day, which was on the quick Turn 1, which is what we’ll be doing for the F1 weekend.

“But eachbody was just doing track limits, so they actually adopted doing a sort of a hairpin loop, which was very nice.

“So I’m actually surprised we haven’t done that loop, because for racing it would be better having a slower speed corner at the end of a long straight.

“But nevertheless, I’m excited to go there and intrigued for the challenge that we face and the teams face.”

FIA race director Michael Masi admitted that he is anticipating abuse of track limits to be an issue, and not just at the first corner.

“Regarding track limits, Turn 1 won’t be the only location that we’ve got a possibility there,” he said.

“However, we’ve put some elements in place to try and manage those as best we can for the event.”

Masi is confident that the circuit, which was recently resurfaced, will be ready for the weekend.

“All the works and all the images that I’ve seen, and all the reports that I’ve received, are that the works have and are progressing extremely well in a number of areas,” he said.

“Not just the resurfacing, but with the number of barrier upgrades and safety requirements and so forth. More than happy from what I’ve seen in that perspective.

“Quite a lot of the safety installations have been upgraded significantly all the way around the circuit. It’s been very much a collaborative effort with the Algarve circuit management and the ASN in Portugal.”

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