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Russell says F1 risked opening 'can of worms' with Alonso incident

SUZUKA, Japan : George Russell said Formula One would have "opened a can of worms" had Fernando Alonso not been punished for braking suddenly in front of him at last month's Australian Grand Prix, triggering a crash.

Aston Martin's Alonso was handed a 20 second post-race penalty for potentially dangerous driving after slowing earlier than usual into turn six at Melbourne's Albert Park, with Russell caught by surprise.

The Briton hit the barriers and ended with his car on its side in the middle of the track, the driver calling urgently for the race to be stopped.

The penalty remained a talking point in the paddock on Thursday ahead of Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, with drivers divided.

"I think if it were not to have been penalised it would have really opened a can of worms for the rest of the season, and in junior categories," Russell told reporters.

"Are you allowed to slow down, change gear, accelerate, do something semi-erratic?

"I don’t take anything personally with what happened with Fernando, and it probably had bigger consequences than it should have, but if it went unpenalised can you just brake in the middle of a straight? I don't know."

Russell said he had bumped into the double world champion, the sport's most experienced driver, in a coffee shop after his return home in Monaco but they had not talked about the incident.

"When the helmet’s on, we’re all fighters and competing. When the helmet’s off, you have respect for one another," he added.

The 26-year-old, a director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA), said Formula One needed to use existing technology better.

"Fortunately I had a 10 second gap behind me and I think it was 10 or 12 seconds before the safety car came out," he said. "But in the