Mazepin can continue in F1, but future still in doubt
Russian driver Nikita Mazepin is allowed to continue racing in Formula 1, but under a neutral flag – the FIA has officially announced.
The FIA held an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the International Olympic committee, of which the FIA is a part of, recommending that no Russian or Belarusian athletes should be allowed to compete in any international competitions until further notice.
But the World Motorsport Council has announced that they are not directly following that recommendation and instead will ensure that ‘no international/zone competition will take place in Russia and Belarus, until further notice’ and ‘no flag/symbol or anthem of Russia/Belarus to be used in international/zone competitions, until further notice’.
Instead, ‘Russian and Belarusian drivers, individual competitors and officials can participate in international/zone competitions only in their neutral capacity and under the FIA flag, subject to specific commitment and adherence to the FIA’s principles of peace and political neutrality, until further notice.’
That means from the FIA’s perspective, Mazepin is not going to be banned from racing in Formula 1. However his race seat with Haas is still under threat as the team’s future with main Russian sponsor Uralkali, owned by Nikita’s father Dmitry, is unresolved.
Haas are expected to provide an update later this week.
FIA Statement – World Motor Sport Council decisions in relation to the situation in Ukraine pic.twitter.com/HwChHhkla6
— FIA (@fia) March 1, 2022
FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “As you know, the FIA is watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock and I hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation.
“We condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and our thoughts are with all those suffering as a result of the events in Ukraine.
“I would like to stress that the FIA, together with our promoters, proactively acted on this matter last week and communicated accordingly on the Formula 1, Formula 2, WTCR and the International Drifting Cup.
“An updated version of the different FIA International Calendars will be presented to the WMSC meeting in Bahrain for approval.”
The published statement also confirmed that ‘upon proposal of the F1 Commercial Rights Holder, cancellation of the 2022 Russian F1 Grand Prix for reason of Force Majeure’.
That confirmation now officially opens up a spot on the F1 2022 calendar to return the schedule to 23 races as originally planned.
The FIA President added: “I want to thank the Council members for their prompt action in deciding these measures in the interests of sport and peace. We stand in solidarity with Leonid Kostyuchenko, the President of the Federation Automobile d’Ukraine (FAU) and the wider FIA family in the country.
“The measures taken today recognise the authority of the FAU in Ukraine and are also aligned with the recommendations recently made by the International Olympic Committee.
“We are in active discussions with our members as we continue to extend our compassion and support in their time of need. We sincerely hope for a peaceful resolution to their intolerable hardship.”
Haas could survive without Uralkali
Guenther Steiner believes that Haas will survive if Uralkali is removed.