Formula 1 will not race in Russia in light of the ongoing situation in Ukraine.
The Russian Grand Prix is set to be removed from the 2022 Formula 1 calendar in light of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Questions had been raised over whether the event would go ahead as scheduled on 25 September, after Russia’s invasion prompted calls from several drivers for the event to be scrapped.
A short statement from the FIA says: “The FIA Formula 1 World Championship visits countries all over the world with a positive vision to unite people, bringing nations together.
“We are watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock and hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation.
“On Thursday evening Formula 1, the FIA, and the teams discussed the position of our sport, and the conclusion is, including the view of all relevant stakeholders, that it is impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix in the current circumstances.”
Yesterday, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel said he would refuse to participate if the Russian GP went ahead: “My own opinion is I should not go. I will not go,” he said. “I think it’s wrong to race in that country. I’m sorry for the people, innocent people who are losing their lives, getting killed for stupid reasons under a very strange and mad leadership.”
His sentiments were echoed by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who said: “I can’t see how we can possibly go to Russia in the current climate,” he said. “It’s an issue for the governing body and the commercial rights holder that are responsible but how much can things change between now and September?”
McLaren driver Lando Norris also said it would not be right to race at Sochi.
Uncertainty surrounds the position of Russian-backed Haas, which has removed the Russian flag-themed livery and logos of its title sponsor, chemical mining firm Uralkali, from its car ahead for pre-season testing in Barcelona.
Russian Haas driver Nikita Mazepin, son of Uralkali chairman Dmitry Mazepin, has not been taken out of the car but will not attend today’s drivers’ press conference, after he told the media yesterday, smiling: “From the understanding that we’ve had with Formula 1, the race is going ahead and you will surely see me there.”
It is unclear at this stage if championship organisers will replace the Sochi race with another venue on the same date. Earlier today, UEFA took the decision to strip Moscow of this year’s Champions League Final. The high-profile football match is now scheduled to be played at the Stade de France in Paris.