Various Formula One drivers condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while Aston Martin F1’s Sebastian Vettel announces he will pull out of the 2022 Russian Grand Prix.
UPDATE, 26 February 2022: The 2022 Formula One Russian Grand Prix has been all but cancelled, with the sport’s organisers stating “it is impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix in the current circumstances.
“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,” a statement from Formula One reads.
“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.”
Our original story, published yesterday, continues below.
25 February 2022: Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel has announced his intention to forgo competing in September’s 2022 Russian Grand Prix after Russian forces invaded Ukraine this week.
The four-time F1 world champion was the first to insist his absence from the race, adding that the Russian Grand Prix should be cancelled entirely.
Vettel – who drives for the Aston Martin F1 team – told a press conference at pre-season testing “In my personal opinion, I woke up to this morning’s news, shocked, so I don’t know. I think it’s horrible to see what is happening.”
“Obviously if you look at the calendar we have a race scheduled in Russia. For myself, my own opinion is I should not go, I will not go. I think it’s wrong to race in the country.”
Vettel has become increasingly outspoken about social issues such as homophobia and racism.
His comments denouncing the invasion by Russian forces were echoed by fellow drivers Max Verstappen (Red Bull F1 team) and Fernando Alonso (Alpine F1 team).
“When a country is at war it is not right to race there, that’s for sure,” Verstappen added.
Fernando Alonso also commented: “We have our opinion and I’m sure it’s the same as everyone. We can make our own decisions for sure but eventually I think Formula One will do the best thing.”
Russia launched a full-scale invasion on Ukraine on Thursday morning after president Vladimir Putin ordered a “specialised military operation.”
Conversely with the comments above, Russian F1 driver Nikita Mazepin (shown below) told Crash.net he believes the 2022 Russian Grand Prix will go ahead despite the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
“From the understanding that we’ve had with Formula One, and race is going ahead and you will surely see me there,” Mazepin told the publication.
American team Haas F1 decided to drop the colours of the Russian flag from its livery at Barcelona’s pre-season testing. Nikita Mazepin drives for the team, which is sponsored by his father’s Russian petrochemical company Uralkali.
It’s understood that F1 team principals will meet with Formula One officials in Barcelona to discuss the situation.
The F1 corporation said it was “closely watching the very fluid developments and at this time has no further comment on the race”.
The Russian Grand Prix has taken place in Sochi, Russia since 2014 and is scheduled to take place on September 25, 2022.