Formula 1: Russian, Belarusian drivers can continue to drive under a neutral flag

The motorsport governing body FIA on Tuesday condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but said Russian and Belarusian drivers could continue to take part in its competitions in a neutral capacity.

The decision was announced following an extraordinary meeting of the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council (WMSC).

The participation of Russian and Belarusian drivers, individual competitors and officials, even in a neutral function, is subject to a “specific obligation and compliance with the FIA ​​principles of peace and political neutrality”.

The meeting also confirmed the cancellation of this year’s Russian Grand Prix.

The FIA ​​decisions come after last week’s invasion of Ukraine, which Russia has described as a “special operation”. Belarus was an important base for the invasion.

“We condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and our thoughts are with all those who are suffering from the events in Ukraine,” said FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

Nikita Mazepin faces an uncertain future

The decision by the FIA’s WMSC would allow Nikita Mazepin, the only Russian in the grid, to continue racing in Formula One.

The 22-year-old is already flying a neutral flag due to the doping sanctions imposed on Russia.

But he still faces an uncertain future after his US-based Haas team stripped all trademarks relating to Russian potash producer and title sponsor Uralkali on the final day of last week’s Barcelona Test.

Uralkali is owned by Mazepin’s father and the fate of the partnership and the Russian’s continued presence in the team is set to be decided this week.

Haas declined to comment on the WMSC decisions.

THE FIA BANNED THE DISPLAY OF RUSSIAN NATIONAL SYMBOLS

The FIA ​​also ruled that representatives of Russian and Belarusian FIA members would have to temporarily step down “from their roles and responsibilities as elected officers/commission members”.

No international or zonal competitions would be held in Russia and Belarus, while Russian and Belarusian teams were banned from participating in international or zonal competitions until further notice.

It also banned showing Russian or Belarusian national symbols, colors, flags or playing anthems in international or zonal competitions.

The WMSC added that no FIA grants would be awarded to the Russian or Belarusian FIA members until further notice, while existing FIA grant funding would also cease.

Earlier Tuesday, Russian former F1 driver Daniil Kvyat called banning Russian athletes and teams from international sport an “unfair” solution.

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