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F1 | Saudi Arabian GP | George Russell and Nikita Mazepin on their crash and safety while racing at Jeddah

The Williams driver believes changes are in order to make the track safe and improve the quality of the racing, and that especially the visibility should be upgraded by reducing the number of blind turns

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F1 | Saudi Arabian GP | George Russell and Nikita Mazepin on their crash and safety while racing at Jeddah
Fuente imagen: Hasan Bratic Motorlat

While appreciating the speed of the new track, Jeddah didn't find unanimous approval from the drivers, due to the extremely high risk of crashes, caused by the presence of multiple blind turns. Five drivers didn't manage to end the race on Sunday as a result of collisions, including the newly-appointed Director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association George Russell.

The Williams driver was strongly hit in the back by Haas's Nikita Mazepin after the first restart, and seconds after following another accident that involved Perez and Leclerc.

After his retirement, he gave his opinion on the track layout, mentioning what should be changed in order to make racing more safe in such an high-speed, narrow track with a great 27 turns:

"Yeah, a big impact. I mean, it's difficult for all drivers. You come around a corner that is full gas, and suddenly there’s a car sideways, tyre smoke everywhere, you don’t know what’s about to happen, he said.

"A lot to learn, I think, from this weekend in terms of the circuit, incredibly exhilarating, so fast and so exciting to drive in perspective but lacking from a safety perspective and a racing perspective."

"So, let's see what happens in the future and generally, there's a lot to learn," he concluded.

Asked about the dynamics of his collision with Mazepin, Russell said: "To be honest, it was much of the same through all the laps because it was just chaos through Turn 3 to Turn 7, you couldn't see anything, cars were everywhere."

Russell, who will drive for Mercedes alongside Lewis Hamilton next season, also suggested ways to improve visibility, and thus racing at Jeddah, probably thinking about the fact that Formula 1 signed a contract to race in Saudi Arabia that is supposed to last "a decade, if not longer", as per the words of Chloe Targett-Adams, F1's Global Director of Race Promotion.

"Again, it's a great track to drive but it's a bit of a recipe for a disaster, so... Not a lot more to say, Definitely a rethink is really needed, and if we do come back next year, which I guess we are, I think there are some things that really need to modify, to make these kinks just straights, because it's so blind, and I've already seen too many incidents waiting to happen," he concluded.

Nikita Mazepin also talked about the dynamics of the accident, mentioning that, even if Russell had slowed quite suddenly in front of him, he doesn't believe the crash to be the Brit's fault, as the Williams driver was just trying to steer away from another accident that had happened ahead.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Quite an impact, unfortunately, but I'll be ok," he opened his post race interview, confirming his good health condition after the strong impact.

"We benefitted from a position of not stopping, and I was fighting with Stroll going out of Turn 2, Turn 3 is always easy flat and it was meant to be for both cars."

"But all of a sudden the car in front, it was George, he braked, I also tried to brake but there’s no way to stop from over 200 to zero," he recalled.

The Russian driver that ended the F2 2020 season in fifth place highlighted that he doesn't blame his former F3 teammate Russell for their collision, as he couldn't go anywhere else to avoid the chaos in front of him:

“Looking at the replay obviously, there was a car on the inside, he tried to avoid it himself but he was the last car, so he reacted on the high side and I just couldn’t avoid him, because the track was so narrow that it's like a traffic jam, and I went at full speed inside him," the rookie summed up.

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