F1 say Russian GP is currently ‘impossible to hold’

Henry Valantine
Nikita Mazepin heads a train of cars during the Russian Grand Prix . Sochi September 2021.

Nikita Mazepin's Haas at the front of a train of cars during the Russian Grand Prix. Sochi September 2021.

Formula 1 have released a statement to say that, given the circumstances in Ukraine, the Russian Grand Prix is currently “impossible to hold”.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been worldwide news and in the case of Formula 1, pressure has grown exponentially to cancel the race outright – with Sebastian Vettel recently saying that he would boycott the race if it was to be held, and Max Verstappen agreed that the race should not be held in a country now at war.

Several major cities in Ukraine have been hit with shelling and air attacks, with more than 130 deaths having already been confirmed by the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

The sport hopes to see a quick resolution to the current conflict and, in agreement with those high up within the sport, said the Russian Grand Prix cannot be held in September with the circumstances as they are.

The statement from Formula 1 read: “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.”

The race had been scheduled to take place on the weekend of 23-25 September, and Haas driver Nikita Mazepin drew criticism this week after saying he did not want to mix “sport and politics”, and remained confident that his home race would go ahead.

 

Mazepin’s father Dmitry has provided significant financial backing of the Haas team through Uralkali, their title sponsor, but the team removed their branding on Thursday night out of “respect” for the current situation, and ran a plain white livery instead of the red, white and blue colours of the Russian flag.

Doubts have also been raised about Mazepin’s future as a driver, should his father’s finances be dropped from the sport altogether. He still ran his planned testing schedule on Friday morning however, but team principal Guenther Steiner admitted that the young Russian’s future “needs to be resolved” in the coming days.