Russell Demands 'Total Transparency' After Losing Podium Due To FIA President's Questionable Call

Thursday, 14 March 2024 at 19:45
Updated at Friday, 15 March 2024 at 06:33
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George Russell left the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix with mixed emotions, as he got the third place, but only for a while.
The race at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit last year was really interesting. While Red Bulls dominated once again and snatched a one-two, all the drama was happening behind them.
Fernando Alonso in Aston Martin was seemingly the fastest driver from the rest of the grid, but he made a mistake already before the race started, losing valuable time as a result.
The Spanish driver didn't line up his car correctly on the grid ahead of the race start, and as a result, he was given a five-second penalty, which he served during his pit-stop.
However, since the rear jack touched the car while the penalty was served, the two-time World Champion received yet another, this time a ten-second penalty, for serving the previous one incorrectly.
This happened after the race was already over and after Alonso celebrated on the podium. He was then dropped behind George Russell in Mercedes, who grabbed the third place in Saudi Arabia.
Yet, that was only momentarily, as Aston Martin challenged the decision, and Alonso's third place was then reinstated as a result.
One year later, BBC reported that an investigation was launched into the actions of the FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, as he should have reportedly influenced the decision to remove the Spaniard's penalty.
At the every same place when he experienced the rollercoaster of emotions, Russell was asked about the investigation, as he was the driver impacted by the decision.

"I think we want to see all of the facts and just have total transparency. We're all racing here. We want a fair and level playing field for us to showcase what we can do. I can't really comment further."

"We were surprised a year ago when the result got overturned, as the legal team at Mercedes thought they did a great job of presenting our case and initially winning the case and then losing it thereafter. So we just want to see transparency and have the opportunity to race on a fair playing field."

Mercedes' Team Principal, Toto Wolff, was also disappointed by the fact that the situation has occurred, however, he believes that FIA will deal with the situation adequately.

"The FIA will follow its processes here, I am convinced of that. I think we have all learned that we have to be transparent. We are at the top of the sport and we have a lot of fans. Then things happen that simply don't belong here and are not what most people here want."