F1 Terminates Russian Grand Prix Contract Over Ukraine Invasion
Formula 1 has confirmed there will be no further racing in Russia, maybe ever.
The World Motor Sport Council made the decision to cancel the 2022 Russian Grand Prix last week after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Now, Formula 1 has decisively terminated its contract with the promoter and no further races are set to be held at Sochi Autodrom or a planned move to Igora Drive.
F1 issued a statement Thursday saying it had “terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix promoter, meaning Russia will not have a race in the future.” The action came on the heels of the British, Finnish, and Swedish motorsport federations banning Russian and Belarusian competitors on Wednesday, respecting a request from the Ukrainian motorsport federation made on Sunday.
The FIA met on Tuesday to discuss matters in relation to Russia invading Ukraine and approved a motion to ban any FIA competition from taking place in Russia or Belarus. Additionally, they’re preventing Russian and Belarusian motorsport federations from receiving any grants from the FIA, removing all Russian and Belarusian elected FIA officials, and banning the flags and symbols of Russia or Belarus from being displayed in any context at FIA events. The ruling does permit Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete, though it must be under the FIA flag of neutrality.
Motorsport UK's decision to completely exclude competitors from Russia or Belarus could well override that, meaning Russian and Belarusian drivers are effectively banned from any FIA (or other international body) competition in the UK. This would affect the British Grand Prix, its Formula 3 support race, W Series, and the World Endurance Championship, all of which championships currently have Russian drivers (Nikita Mazepin, Alexander Smolyar, Ira Sidorkova and Daniil Kvyat, respectively) slated to appear at their Silverstone rounds.
The Russian Grand Prix had been held at Sochi since 2014, despite Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea and the 2015 conflict in Donbas, as well as the site being a mere 20 miles north of annexed Abkhazia, a frozen conflict region. Former F1 chief and original contract negotiator Bernie Ecclestone has this week called Russian dictator Vladimir Putin a "straightforward and honorable" man.
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