George Russell criticizes FIA’s increase in maximum fines for F1 racers

George Russell Mercedes (

Mercedes Formula 1 driver George Russell has expressed strong disapproval over the FIA’s decision to raise the maximum fines for Formula 1 competitors from €250,000 to €1 million.

Russell, who is also a director of the GPDA (Grand Prix Drivers’ Association), deemed the quadrupling of the fine as “ridiculous” and highlighted the financial challenges faced by drivers, particularly those in their early years of grand prix racing.

Russell emphasized that many drivers, especially newcomers to Formula 1, do not earn anywhere near the proposed fine amount. He shared his personal experience of being on a modest five-figure salary in his first year and incurring substantial expenses for various professional needs.

He also called for transparency regarding the allocation of funds generated from fines, expressing concerns over the escalating nature of penalties in the sport. Russell pointed out instances where fines seemed disproportionate to the offenses committed by drivers, citing examples involving Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

Furthermore, Russell stressed the need for fines, especially substantial ones like €1 million, to be reinvested into grassroots initiatives within the sport. He called on the FIA to provide clarity on how the fines contribute to the betterment of the sport, particularly in supporting accessibility, diversity, and opportunities for individuals who may not typically have access to Formula 1.

The drivers’ awareness of the fine increase came during a press conference, with Daniel Ricciardo expressing his apprehension, and Max Verstappen humorously pondering the nature of a million-euro fine. Lewis Hamilton echoed Russell’s sentiments, emphasizing the importance of directing such significant fines towards meaningful causes within the sport.

Overall, George Russell’s comments reflect a broader concern among Formula 1 drivers about the proportionality and purpose of fines levied by the FIA, particularly in light of the financial realities faced by drivers at different stages of their careers.