Formula 1 has reportedly terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix as the motorsports’ commercial arm considers it impossible to race in the country due to the ongoing war in Ukraine. The decision comes days after this year’s race in Sochi was cancelled in wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The latest development is in a long list of sanctions imposed on the country by various sports governing authorities across the globe as direct repercussions of what is happening in Ukraine.
“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,” they said in a statement.
The Black Sea resort of Sochi has hosted the race since the first running in 2014 but Saint Petersburg was due to replace it as the venue in 2023.
Reigning champion Max Verstappen and four-time champion Sebastian Vettel had both said they would not race there.
“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 German.
But former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone — who played a pivotal role in bringing the race to Russia — told AFP on Wednesday the cancellation made no sense.
“It does not make sense whichever way you look at,” Ecclestone told AFP. “There is no war in Russia to my knowledge so if it took place it would make no difference to anybody.
“This idea of trying to punish Russia this way in a sporting sense is not going to punish (Russian President Vladimir) Putin at all.
“The race would not matter to him.”
Among other events stripped from Russia, European football’s governing body UEFA have taken away this year’s Champions League final from Saint Petersburg.
The International Paralympic Committe earlier in the day banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing at the Beijing Winter Paralympics. “In order to preserve the integrity of these Games and the safety of all participants, we have decided to refuse the athlete entries from RPC and NPC Belarus,” the IPC said in a statement.
With AFP Inputs