Nikita Mazepin’s place on the F1 grid, and that of all Russian drivers competing in FIA sanctioned series, will be discussed in an emergency meeting called for Tuesday.
The sporting world is taking a stand following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Football’s Champions League final has been moved from Saint Petersburg to Paris, while the country has also been stripped of international badminton, swimming and karate events.
Fifa and Uefa went one further on Monday as they also suspended all Russian teams from international football competition with calls now for the FIA to do the same.
A meeting has been called for Tuesday, one that could decide Mazepin’s place on the 2022 grid.
“An extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council will be convened tomorrow [Tuesday] to discuss matters relating to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine,” a spokesperson for the FIA told PA news agency.
“Further updates will be given following the meeting.”
I have called an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council for tomorrow to discuss matters relating to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
— Mohammed Ben Sulayem (@Ben_Sulayem) February 28, 2022
The 22-year-old is the only Russian driver on the Formula 1 grid with Haas admitting last week that his future was up in the air.
The team stripped their Uralkali sponsorship off the car on the final day of the Spanish test, removing the Russian company’s branding from the car, the team kit and even the trucks.
It is not yet known if that is the end of Haas’ deal with Uralkali, which in itself puts Mazepin’s place on the grid in jeopardy as he is in Formula 1 largely because of the financial backing of his father’s company.
In the end, though, neither the F1 team nor the Russian fertilizer company may have a say in the matter depending on how the Tuesday’s meeting proceeds.
Ukraine’s motorsport governing body wants to see the FIA not only stop all motor racing events from taking place in Russia and Belarus, but also wants them to “prohibit holders of all licenses issued by the RAF and BAF [Belarusian Automobile Federation] from competitions outside the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus”.
That would mean Mazepin would not be able to compete.
Formula 1 has already cancelled the Russian Grand Prix, saying it a statement last week that it was “impossible” to host given the circumstances.
The International Olympic Committee also recommended on Monday that “International Sports Federations and sports event organisers not invite or allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials in international competitions”. The FIA is among those International Sports Federations recognised by the IOC.
Haas team boss Guenther Steiner says the team will survive if they lose the Uralkali sponsorship money while reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi will be his first point of call to replace Mazepin.
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