F1 in shock as shot down plane piles doubt on Russian GP

Wreckage of shot down airliner

Wreckage of shot down airliner

The Formula 1 paddock in Hockenheim has joined the rest of the world reacting in shock at the grim news emerging from violence-torn Ukraine.

All 298 people on board are dead after a Boeing 777 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed, apparently after the Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down by a missile fired by pro-Moscow Russian separatists.

Several Formula 1 drivers took to Twitter to communicate their horror and send messages of condolence to family and friends of the victims. Some of the tweets are embedded below.

The shocking development will put more pressure on organisers of October’s inaugural Russian Grand Prix, who were already fending off reports that the deepening Crimean crisis could force the race’s cancellation. This could be the final blow for the event, whose venue is already near completion.

Sochi Autodrom is ready to host the grand prix

Sochi Autodrom is ready to host the grand prix

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko said on Friday morning in an address to the Ukrainian nation that the pro-Russia separatists who have taken control of parts of eastern Ukraine were to blame.

He referred to tapped phone conversations during which a rebel leader “boasted that the airliner had been shot down”.

“War has come to the territory of Ukraine, and the consequences of this war have rolled across the world,” he said. He added that he had ordered the establishment of an investigative commission including experts from the Netherlands, Malaysia and the US.

Among the numerous nationalities on board, it is reported that at least 27 Australians were on the doomed flight MH17, and federal opposition leader Bill Shorten has described their deaths as murder.

Prime minister Tony Abbott, meanwhile, called on Russia to “fully cooperation in this investigation”, even though his counterpart Vladimir Putin is clearly blaming Ukraine.

“Undoubtedly,” he said, “the state on whose territory this happened is responsible for this awful tragedy.” (GP247-GMM)