Formula One cancels Russian Grand Prix in Sochi after Ukraine invasion

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Drivers take the start during the Russian Formula One Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom circuit, in Sochi. File / AP

Formula One on Friday said that it has cancelled the Russian Grand Prix scheduled for Sept.25 this year at Sochi’s Olympic Park following Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine.

F1 were reacting to Russian President Vladimir Putin defying Western warnings to unleash a full-scale invasion on Thursday that quickly claimed dozens of lives and displaced at least 100,000 people.

Fighting has gone into a second day with Ukrainian forces fighting off Russian invaders in the streets of the capital Kyiv.

“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,” read the Formula One statement.

“We are watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock and hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation.”

Their rapid action over the race comes after defending world champion Max Verstappen and four-time champion Sebastian Vettel had publicly declared at testing in Barcelona their opposition to driving in the race.

Red Bull driver Verstappen said: “When a country is at war, it’s not right to run there,” whilst Vettel was more forthright.

“For myself, my own opinion is I should not go, I will not go. I think it’s wrong to race in the country,” said the 34-year-old German Aston Martin driver.
“I’m sorry for the people, innocent people that are losing their lives, that are getting killed for stupid reasons and a very, very strange and mad leadership.”

Haas dilemma

American Formula 1 team Haas, which have a Russian driver Nikita Mazepin, showed their distaste for the invasion by announcing their cars will not sport the Russian colours of its title sponsor Uralkali during the last day of pre-season testing on Friday.

Agencies

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