Formula One has terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix and confirmed there will no longer be an F1 race in the country following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The 2022 running of the event, set for September at the Olympic Park in Sochi, had already been cancelled last week and the sport is now cutting future ties with the country.
Nikita Mazepin, the only Russian driver in Formula One, is expected to be cut from his Haas team and replaced by reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi ahead of preseason testing in Bahrain, according to reports. Yesterday Mazepin was barred from competing at the British Grand Prix when Motorsport UK announced that no Russian or Belarusian athletes would be approved to enter motorsport competitions in the UK, and that no flags or anthems of those countries would be permitted at British events.
Meanwhile, the reigning world champion Max Verstappen has signed a new six-year contract to extend his stay at Red Bull until 2028. The Dutchman is understood to have been rewarded for his toppling of Lewis Hamilton with a pay packet to match, worth around £40m per year. Follow all the latest news and reaction below.
F1 news: Formula 1 cancel Russian Grand Prix contract but FIA allowing drivers to compete
There is a split between Formula 1 it’s governing body, the FIA, after the sport terminated it’s contract with the Russian Grand Prix effectively severing all ties with the country.
The FIA, meanwhile, have ruled that Russian drivers can continue to compete but miust do so under a neutral flag this season “subject to specific commitment and adherence to the FIA’s principles of peace and political neutrality”.
Nikita Mazepin is currently the only Russian driver on the F1 grid and there has been increasing speculation over whether he will be dropped by Haas ahead of the upcoming season.
Mazepin’s father, Dmitry, is a Belarusian-Russian oligarch who was pictured with Putin as recently as January. He is the majority shareholder in chemical manufacturing company Uralchem, who are one of Haas’ major sponsors.
Haas dropped Russian-themed colours and Ulrachem sponsorship from its cars during pre-season testing in Barcelona as Russia’s invasion accelerated.
“It’s something that causes problems, but it doesn’t disturb the team on the competitive side,” said Haas’ team principal Guenther Steiner.
“Financially, we are fine. This story will not have repercussions on the team and on this season’s plans. There are more ways to get funding, there is no problem on that front.”
Michael Jones3 March 2022 13:13
F1 news: Mercedes’ Mike Elliott interested in Red Bull sidepods
Mercedes’ technical chief Mike Elliott has pointed to Red Bull’s RB1 as a source of interest to the Silver Arrows’ aerodynamic team.
In the latest F1 TV Tech Talk Elliott said much of his team’s attention was taken by the W13 but Red Bull’s RB18 briefly caught their eye specifically the sidepods on the car.
“To be perfectly honest, I have not spent an awful lot of time looking at the other cars,” he said. “We have just been trying to fix our own issues. The guys in the factory are doing more of that.
“The most visual different thing is the sidepod that Red Bull have come up with. [It] looks interesting – we will go away and have a think about that.”
Elliott also explained that part of the reason teams have different sidepod designs is being driven by the new technical regulations for the 2022 season. Mercedes’ sidepod profile appears far slimmer than that their rivals.
“I guess there are different concepts.” He added. “In terms of what is happening with these regulations, we completely change the way of managing the wheel wake. That was done to make it better for overtaking, that we couldn’t over-optimise and control the tyre flows, and then for that to break down behind another car.
“And different teams have taken different approaches to that: some teams have gone for these big wide bodywork, trying to control the tyre wake that way. We’ve gone for a narrower solution, and we’ve packaged the car to be able to do that.
“The reality is the cars will evolve a lot between now and race one and you will see different solutions come along. In terms of the details of what the aerodynamics are doing, it is probably all to do with controlling that front tyre wake.”
Michael Jones3 March 2022 12:57
F1 news: Verstappen contract on par with Hamilton
Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen has signed a mammoth six year deal with Red Bull Racing that will keep him with the team until 2028.
The new agreement will take the 24-year-old close to his 30th birthday and earn him just over £40m a year, putting him on par with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton as one of the highest earners in the sport.
Verstappen claimed his first world championship title in 2021 after edging out the seven-time champion in a controversial finish at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December.
Hamilton’s contract with Mercedes ends in 2023, which led to speculation that Verstappen could replace him with the Silver Arrows. But the prospect of Verstappen making a blockbuster move across the grid took a hit with the tension between his father Jos and Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff.
Verstappen’s father was furious Wolff, previously considered a friend, did not contact his son after his 51G Silverstone crash. “There have been conversations with Toto Wolff and I also thought we had a good relationship with him, but the real Toto has shown himself lately,” he told De Limburger. “There is no relationship anymore.”
Michael Jones3 March 2022 12:40
F1 news: Tsunoda excited by AlphaTauri’s chances
Yuki Tsunoda believs AlphaTauri are in “good shape” ahead of the 2022 Formula 1 season though he cautions that engine development may be an issue.
The Faenza-based team ended last week’s three-day test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya sixth in terms of both laps completed and outright pace allowing Tsunoda to talk up AlphaTauri’s prospects for the new season.
“Already, I think we’re in good shape,” he told RacingNews365.com.
“Obviously, I don’t know what other teams are doing, I think they’re hiding their true performance. But I think we’re not far away from P1, which is Ferrari, so I’m really looking forward to [the new season].
“There’s a lot of potential in the car, but we need to put it all together. I’m really interested in what’s going to happen if we achieve that. Maybe one thing we are worried about is the engine.
“Other teams still can develop the engine a little bit, which we can’t do much. It’s the only thing I’m a bit worried about, but other than that, [it’s] very good.”
Michael Jones3 March 2022 12:21
F1 news: Formula 1 ‘all talk’ on female inclusion says Florsch
Sophia Florsch has accused premier motor racing including Formula 1 of being all talk and little action when it comes to promoting female talent.
The 21-year-old German suffered a huge crash and was launched into a photographers’ bunker at the Macau GP in 2018, fracturing her spine.
Since then, she says all the attention resulted in basically no progress in her motor racing rise – despite all the crowing about diversity, equality and inclusion.
“The teams adorn themselves with drivers but they don’t get any real chances,” she told the Munich Merkur newspaper.
“They are used to justify modern, chic leitmotifs such as ‘We promote women and equality’. In fact, it’s often just a cheaply calculated commitment with mostly no real support at the level of sporting inclusion on an equal playing field.”
She said several sponsorship capitalised on her leap to fame but none of them “are still by my side”.
“Motorsport moves fast. The accident gave me attention, but in a sporting sense it wasn’t a step forward.”
Michael Jones3 March 2022 12:03
F1 news: Red Bull have ‘ruined a few great drivers’, McLaren chief claims
Max Verstappen secured his first F1 world title in 2021 having progressed through the ranks at Red Bull, following the achievements and career path of four-time drivers’ championship winner Sebastian Vettel.
While Daniel Ricciardo would also be counted as a success of Red Bull’s driver development program, helmed by Helmut Marko, Brown believes that the team has been detrimental to a number of promising young drivers.
Michael Jones3 March 2022 11:45
F1 news: Drive to Survive review: F1 fans will be gripped by a series still way ahead of the pack
“Stay calm – we will get the f***ers.”
Barely a minute into season four of Drive to Survive and we’re all in. A compilation of crashes, expletives, explosions and wry smiles from some of the most recognisable faces on the planet, grimaces and sharp-tongued utterances from some of the richest people. The retelling of one of the most remarkable campaigns in all of sport has not even begun, and yet already the compulsion is to tell it to shut up and take our money.
On Friday, 11 March, Netflix will throw open the doors of Formula One’s 2021 season with the expectation that it will break the records set by the previous three. To have bared real-time witness to the rollercoaster that culminated in Max Verstappen’s maiden title in remarkable fashion was to have watched something very special. And throughout a year where the narrative turned just as sharply as the cars on the track, the anticipation of the newest offering of Drive to Survive was almost too great to comprehend.
Michael Jones3 March 2022 11:29
F1 news: Formula 1 terminates contract with Russian Grand Prix
“Formula 1 can confirm it has terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix promoter, meaning Russia will not have a race in the future,” a statement confirmed on Thursday.
Michael Jones3 March 2022 11:15
F1 news: Formula 1 terminates contract with Russian Grand Prix
Formula 1 has terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix and the sport’s commercial arm, which controls the calendar, has decided racing in the country is impossible in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine.
The race in Sochi scheduled for September this year has already been cancelled and now there will now no longer be a race in St Petersburg, where it was due to move in 2023.
The decision means F1 will not race in Russia for the foreseeable future after discussions on what further actions to take since it cancelled the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi last week, a day after the invasion.
It was thought that holding any races in Russia was not tenable after what has happened despite the race being one of the most lucrative on the calendar.
Michael Jones3 March 2022 11:13
F1 news: Christian Horner pushed for rule change before Hamilton and Verstappen world title controversy
Red Bull team principal Christan Horner says he lobbied for radio messages between F1 team principals and Grand Prix race directors to be transmitted to the public ahead of the 2021 season.
Formula 1 allowed fans to hear what was being said between the two groups for the first time last season but have changed their minds in the wake of the controvserial end to the race in Abu Dhabi.
Lewis Hamilton had opened up a comphrensive lead in the title-deciding race and looked set to claim a record eighth F1title before Williams’ Nicholas Latifi crashed into a wall and a safety car was brought out.
During the pause, five drivers came between title rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton just after the Dutchman had pitted for fresh tyres.
Horner and Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley could be heard putting pressure on race director Michael Masi to allow the cars to “go by” and get out of the way.
“Understood, just give me a second,” replied Masi before he allowed the cars past Hamilton to set up a one-lap head-to-head which saw Verstappen overtake his Mercedes rival and win the race.
“I lobbied very hard and am probably responsible for why the radio [messages] are broadcast,” said Horner. “I’ve always felt it would be interesting for the public to hear what goes on between the pitwall and the race director, with the idea that it would be used less if it was broadcast.”
Michael Jones3 March 2022 11:04