George Russell believes Formula 1’s decision to run the fast right-hander at Portimao’s Turn 1 for the Portuguese Grand Prix will result in drivers exceeding track limits.
The Algarve circuit is holding the first grand prix in Portugal since 1996 this weekend, and will welcome F1 cars for the first time since opening back in 2008.
Portimao’s layout means it has the option to run different track configurations, with the first corner either run as a fast right-hand kink or a tighter loop complex.
Russell, who raced at the circuit in F3, believes the alternative loop section would not only stop track limits being abused but also produce better racing.
“I’m really excited. It’s a spectacular circuit, very undulating, a lot of blind corners, which is great, and adds a lot of character,” the Williams driver said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“Obviously I need to wait and see once I’ve driven it in a current 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 everybody 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.”
F1 race director Michael Masi conceded that track limits is likely to be an issue this weekend, but said the FIA has plans in place to police it as best as they can.
“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.”