Russian Formula 1 driver Nikita Mazepin will be barred from competing at the British Grand Prix, after Motorsport UK announced their response to the situation in Ukraine.
On Tuesday, Haas driver Mazepin looked likely to be allowed to compete in F1 this season after the FIA confirmed Russian and Belarusian drivers could race under a neutral flag.
But chair of Motorsport UK, David Richards CBE, along with the board of the organisation confirmed in a statement on Wednesday Mazepin would not be able to race at Silverstone on July 3 unless the situation changes.
“The entire Motorsport UK community condemns the acts of war by Russia and Belarus in Ukraine and expresses its solidarity and support towards all those affected by the ongoing conflict.” Richards said.
“We stand united with the people of Ukraine and the motorsport community following the invasion and the unacceptable actions that have unfolded. This is a time for the international motorsport community to act and show support for the people of Ukraine and our colleagues at the Federation Automobile d’Ukraine (FAU).”
FIA president Mohammed bin Sulayem said in a statement on Tuesday: “The FIA is watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock and I hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation.
“We condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and our thoughts are with all those suffering as a result of the events in Ukraine.”
In the statement, the FIA added: “Russian/Belarusian drivers, individual competitors and officials to participate in international/zone competitions only in their neutral capacity and under the ‘FIA flag’, subject to specific commitment and adherence to the FIA’s principles of peace and political neutrality.”
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 @HaasF1Team . My deepest thanks for your understanding and support. 🙏
— Nikita Mazepin (@nikita_mazepin) February 25, 2022
In response, and in full accordance with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommendations, Motorsport UK confirmed, whilst “respecting the decisions of the FIA”, that no Russian/Belarusian licenced teams are approved to enter motorsport competitions in the UK, no Russian/Belarusian licenced competitors and officials are approved to participate in UK motorsport events, and no Russian/Belarusian national symbols, colours, flags (on uniform, equipment and car) to be displayed at Motorsport UK permitted events.
The Motorsport UK decision was made in full consultation with the UK Government and national sports governing bodies to ensure there is a unilateral response to the crisis.
Richards added: “It is our duty to use whatever influence and leverage we might have to bring this wholly unjustified invasion of Ukraine to a halt. We would encourage the motorsport community and our colleagues around the world to fully embrace the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee and do whatever we can to end this war.”
“Motorsport UK stands united with Leonid Kostyuchenko, the President of the FAU, the Ukrainian motorsport community and the Ukrainian people and calls for the violence to end with a peaceful resolution.”
Slater: Mazepin could be left with no option
Sky F1’s Craig Slater…
“The most significant aspect of this is that the British federation Motorsport UK are taking a different stand to the international federation the FIA, who announced this week that they were prepared to allow Russian licensed drivers to compete in their races and Championship so long as they raced under an FIA flag.
“So that means the headline from this is Nikita Mazepin of the Haas F1 team will not be able to compete at Silverstone this year, he is Russian licensed.
“He’s also the son of Dmitry Mazepin, who is a close associate of Vladimir Putin. Haas stripped all Uralkali sponsorship from their car. The car also carried the colours of the Russian national flag, those were taken off on the final day of testing.
“Haas have no comment to make at the moment in terms of Mazipan’s future or indeed how they are going to proceed with or without Dmitry Mazepin’s financial backing which is significant. They are looking at that situation at the moment.
“But I think this is significant in terms of this Motorsport UK release today, David Richards says ‘it is our duty to use whatever influence and leverage we might have to bring this wholly unjustified invasion of Ukraine to a halt, we would encourage the motorsport community and colleagues around the world to fully embrace the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee and do whatever we can to end this war’.
“So they are in effect saying ‘we’re prepared to do this, other motorsport federations around the world, you might want to listen to us and follow our example’.
“If that were the case I think Nikita Mazepin would find it difficult to put together anything like a Formula 1 season involving a significant number of races.
“Despite what the FIA said this week, I think Motorsport UK’s position today could bring about a situation where Mazepin has no real option to compete in Formula 1 this season in any meaningful sense.”
Ex-F1 driver Kvyat: Banning Russian athletes ‘unfair’
On Tuesday, Ex-Formula 1 driver Daniil Kvyat urged sporting federations against the “unfair solution” of banning Russian athletes and teams from sporting competitions in the wake of his country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Kvyat, who is from Russia and has 110 F1 starts, was most recently on the grid in 2020 and posted on social media to speak out against the Russia-Ukraine war, but also against the “unfair” banning of Russian athletes.
“I really hope for a peaceful solution to this situation in Ukraine, and that we can all live in peace,” said Kvyat.
“Hopefully all parties can find a solution by sitting together and through a respectful dialogue.
“It horrifies me to see two brotherhood nations in a conflict.
“I don’t want military actions and wars to influence the future of humanity. I want my daughter and all children to enjoy this beautiful world.
“I also would like to highlight and address all sports federations across the world including IOC that sport should remain outside politics and disallowing Russian athletes and teams from participating in world competitions is an unfair solution and goes against what sport teaches us in its principle – the unity and peace.
“Who else if not us sports people will help to glue nations together in the upcoming times?”
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