Formula 1’s Russian Grand Prix has been cancelled in the wake of the invasion into Ukraine, it has been confirmed.
F1 have decided the race, scheduled for Sochi on 25 September, is “impossible to hold in the current circumstances” following Vladimir Putin’s incursion into the country that began on Thursday.
A statement read: “The FIA Formula One 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.
“On Thursday evening Formula One, 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.”
The move comes after Uefa, European football’s governing body, decided to strip Russia of the Champions League final with Paris now set to host the showpiece match.
F1 did not say if they would replace the race on their 2022 schedule, which before the cancellation of the Russian Grand Prix stood at a record 23 races.
The Russian Grand Prix was scheduled to take place two weeks after the Italian Grand Prix at Monza and a week before the Singapore Grand Prix. Turkey’s Istanbul Park has been suggested as a potential replacement venue.
On Thursday, four-time Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel said he would not race in Russia amid the escalation of the Ukraine crisis.
“My own opinion is I should not go. I will not go,” Vettel said. “I think it’s wrong to race in the country.”
The UK’s culture secretary Nadine Dorries welcomed the decision after ministers wrote to F1’s CEO Stefano Domenicali urging the race to be called off.
“The withdrawal of the Russian Grand Prix is yet another clear message to President Putin that the international sporting world will not stand by and allow him to use these events to legitimise his illegal and deadly invasion of Ukraine.
“I welcome the action taken by the FIA and its drivers. We are working at pace with governing bodies linked to international sporting events due to be hosted in Russia this year and are urging them to follow suit.”
Meanwhile, Nikita Mazepin’s F1 future remains in doubt after Haas stripped the Russian-backed branding from their livery on Thursday.
Mazepin, who is the only Russian driver on the grid, said: “To my fans and followers – it’s a difficult time and I am not in control over a lot of what is being said and done.
“I’m choosing to focus on what I can control by working hard and doing my best for my Hass. My deepest thanks for your understanding and support.”
The Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said a decision would be reached regarding the sponsorship of the Uralkali, which is owned by Mazepin’s father, next week.