F1 will not host races in Russia after terminating contract

Formula One will no longer race in Russia after the sport terminated its contract with the promoter of the country’s Grand Prix, it said in a statement on Thursday.

The 2022 running of the event, set for 25 September at the Olympic Park in Sochi, had already been cancelled last week after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. F1 bosses announced only in June that an agreement had been reached to move the Russian round to Igora Drive, 40 miles north of St Petersburg, from 2023. But now the sport has moved to scrap the race altogether.

A statement read: “Formula One can confirm it has terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix promoter, meaning Russia will not have a race in the future.”

On Thursday, Motorsport UK announced Russian-licensed drivers have been banned from competing in the United Kingdom. It means the Haas driver Nikita Mazepin, the sole Russian on the F1 grid, will not be able to take part in July’s British Grand Prix.

Mazepin’s immediate future in F1 hangs in the balance. His father, oligarch Dmitry Mazepin, is a part-owner of Haas’ title sponsor, Uralkali. Haas removed the branding of the Russian fertiliser company for the final day of testing in Barcelona last week. F1’s governing body, the FIA, will still allow Russian drivers to continue to compete, albeit under a neutral flag.

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The Russian round was added to the calendar in 2014 after Bernie Ecclestone struck a lucrative deal with Vladimir Putin. Ecclestone, 91, in an interview this week, backed the FIA’s stance on Russian drivers. “It was absolutely the right decision by the FIA,” said Ecclestone, who ran F1 for four decades.

“There are so many things being agreed by the world about this conflict between Russian and Ukraine. But I don’t think anybody has really thought it through, or got their heads around it. If there is a Russian driver in F1, what does it have to do with Russia fighting a war? There is no relationship there. The Russian athletes have nothing to do with this conflict. They are not part of it, and they have never been part of it. They just happen to be Russian.”

source: theguardian.com