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FIA permits Russian drivers to race, but under ‘neutral capacity’

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Russian drivers allowed to race by FIA .Photo: Getty Images
  • Following a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, the FIA will allow Russian drivers to participate under a neutral flag
  • F1 Haas driver shares his thoughts following the FIA announcement
  • Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the president of the FIA, criticizes the Russian invasion, expresses his regrets and sympathy over the events in Ukraine
  • Recommendations made by the International Athletic Committee

The FIA, Formula One’s governing body, has allowed Russian drivers to compete in sanctioned motor racing events in a neutral capacity and under its flag.

Nikita Mazepin, a Haas driver, will now be able to compete in Formula One this season.

FIA Russian drivers neutral flag

Nikita Mazepin, Russian Haas F1 driver allowed to race by FIA. Photo: Auto Sport

Unlike many other international sporting federations, the FIA’s decision does not entirely align with the IOC’s desire to prohibit all Russian athletes and officials from participating in tournaments and contests following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“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, until further notice,” the governing body of motorsports said in a statement.

However, until further notice, no competitions will be held in Russia or Belarus, and no flag, symbol, or anthem from those nations will be permitted at any FIA event.

F1 Haas driver Nikita Mazepin shares his thoughts following the FIA announcement

Following the announcement, Mazepin, who is 22 years old, stated on social media that :

“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 HAAS.

“My deepest thanks for your understanding and support.”

Meanwhile, Haas is still working out the details of its Uralkali sponsorship.

FIA Russian drivers neutral flag

Haas still working out the details of its Uralkali sponsorship. Photo: Planet 1

For the final day of the pre-season test in Barcelona last week, the American F1 team removed the logo of its title partner Uralkali.

Dmitry Mazepin, Nikita’s father, owns a stake in the Russian fertilizer industry.

Guenther Steiner, the Haas team’s principal, raised the possibility for more news this week.

The FIA also formally canceled this year’s Russian Grand Prix, as it is the only regulatory body with the authority to put the race off due to force majeure.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the president of the FIA, criticized the Russian invasion, expressed his regret over the events in Ukraine, and emphasized the organization’s sympathy with the country.

Mohammed Bin Sulayem FIA President. Photo: XPB Images

‘As you know, 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,” said Sulayem in a statement.

”We condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and our thoughts are with all those suffering as a result of the events in Ukraine.

”I would like to stress that the FIA, together with our promoters, proactively acted on this matter last week and communicated accordingly on the Formula 1, Formula 2, WTCR, and the International Drifting Cup.

”An updated version of the different FIA International Calendars will be presented to the WMSC meeting in Bahrain for approval.”

“Council members approved the following, in line with the International Olympic Committee recommendations, with immediate effect

Recommendations made by the International Athletic Committee

  • No international/zone competitions to take place in Russia and Belarus, until further notice
  • No flag/symbol or anthem of Russia/Belarus to be used in international/zone competitions until further notice
  • No Russian/Belarusian national teams to participate in international/zone competitions (e.g. FIA Motorsport Games), until further notice
  • 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, until further notice
  • No Russian/Belarusian national symbols, colors, flags (uniform, equipment, and car)- should be displayed or anthems should be played at international/zone competitions, until further notice
  • Representatives from Russian/Belarusian FIA Members to step aside temporarily from their roles and responsibilities of elected officers/commissions’ members*
  • No FIA grant to be awarded to the Russian/Belarusian FIA Members, until further notice*
  • No existing FIA grant funding will be paid to the Russian/Belarusian FIA Members*
  • Upon proposal of the F1 Commercial Rights Holder, cancellation of the 2022 Russian F1 Grand Prix for the reason of Force Majeure.

*Subject to the approval of the World Council for Automobile Mobility and Tourism”

“I want to thank the Council members for their prompt action in deciding these measures in the interests of sport and peace.

‘’We stand in solidarity with Leonid Kostyuchenko, the President of the Federation Automobile d’Ukraine (FAU) and the wider FIA family in the country.

‘’The measures taken today recognize the authority of the FAU in Ukraine and are also aligned with the recommendations recently made by the International Olympic Committee.

‘’We are in active discussions with our members as we continue to extend our compassion and support in their time of need.

‘’We sincerely hope for a peaceful resolution to their intolerable hardship.” The FIA President added.

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