George Russell says he would be “very concerned” for the safety of mechanics in the pit lane if Formula 1 opts to ban tyre blankets.

The blankets warm up the tyres before they are fitted to the car and allow for more grip straight out of the pit lane.

However, a vote will take place next month, which will determine if the blankets remain for the 2024 campaign or not.

Russell tested the 2024 tyres following the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona but says conditions were not representative of a race weekend.

“I think in hindsight it probably wasn’t tested in the right conditions at the right circuit,” Russell said. 

“I think if you go to Barcelona which is a circuit that has quite an aggressive tarmac, it was 40-odd degree track temperature, fully rubbered in from the race weekend.

“The tyres were very sketchy coming out of the pit lane, but by about Turn 5 on the out lap it was at a respectable level. 

“But if I compare that and contrast with the start of the year when I did one run in Jerez in 10 degree track temperature, it was extremely difficult getting out of the pits.”

F1 veteran and Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso recently questioned the need to rid the sport of tyre blankets.

Russell concurs with the Spaniard, stating he would be fearful for the well-being of personnel in the pit lane.

“If I’m being totally honest I don’t think we as a sport are in a position yet to bring these tyres into a racing scenario,” he said. 

“I would be very concerned for all of the mechanics in the pit lane during a pit stop, I would be very concerned for the out lap from a race in cold conditions – there will be crashes, I have no doubt about it. 

“There’s a lot of work, expense and development going into these tires, I feel like that could be put elsewhere.”

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