George Russell agrees with Carlos Sainz and compares F1 health risks to 1960s footballers

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George Russell has sided with Carlos Sainz after the Spaniard admitted fears over his long-term health due to the impact of ‘porpoising’. After F1 introduced new technical regulations this season, several drivers on the grid have suffered from extreme porpoising issues.

The vigorous bouncing is caused by the car making aggressive contact with the track surface due to the lower ride height in line with the re-introduction of ground-effect aerodynamics. And the problems that arise as a result stretch beyond impacting car performance.

Mercedes have been heavily tarnished by porpoising this season, suffering limited visibility, difficulties navigating through corners and a loss of straight-line speed. But Ferrari’s F1-75 has also been hit with the phenomenon when travelling at high speeds, and Sainz has admitted it’s already taking a toll on his health.

He said: “We need to consider how much of a toll a driver should be paying for his back and his health in a Formula 1 career. With this kind of cars philosophy, we need to open a debate more than anything. I have done checks on my back and neck tightness, and this year, it is tighter everywhere. I am already feeling it. I don’t need expert advice to know 10 years like this will be tough.”

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Cars bouncing up and down on the track unsurprisingly causes uncomfortable and somewhat painful issues for drivers’ backs and necks. And during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Russell complained that he was feeling the impact of porpoising on his chest.

The 24-year-old has followed Sainz’s complaints by comparing the problem to footballers in the 60s, 70s and 80s who have endured long-term head injuries. He has labelled F1 the ‘centre of innovation’ and urged the organisation to find a solution and make a change.

“When you are travelling at 200mph on the straight, and you are smashing up and down on the ground, for sure you wouldn’t choose to have it that way,” Russell explained. The cars are extremely rigid, and they are not meant to be a comfortable ride.

“You could compare it to the footballers of the 60s, 70s and 80s when they had the massively heavy footballs. Research was done, and analysis was done that there were health consequences for these chaps who headed the ball, and things were changed. Formula 1 is the centre of innovation, and there is no reason why we cannot find a scientific solution for this.”

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