While some feel the FIA’s reaction to the Russia-Ukraine war was somewhat limp wristed, Motorsport UK has gone a significant step further, banning Russian competitors from racing in the UK, Haas Formula 1 driver Nikita Mazepin included.
This means that the Mazepin, whose future remains uncertain as the Vladimir Putin led invasion of a sovereign neighbour triggers sanctions aganist and bans of all things Russian. The sports world closed ranks on Russian athletes making them redundant as long as the war is on.
However, the FIA deemed that no sign of Russian flags or colours will be countenanced in races involving the governing body’s myriad of motorsport categories, the country’s drivers could renounce the flag and run under a neutral one.
Motorsport UK Statement:
David Richards CBE, Chair of Motorsport UK, along with the Board of the organisation, have considered the appropriate response to the ongoing acts of war and aggression conducted in Ukraine by Russia and Belarus.
Richards commented, “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.
“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).”
On 1 March 2022, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) held an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) chaired by FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem to discuss the ongoing conflict. David Richards CBE, Chair of Motorsport UK and WMSC Member, attended the session.
The FIA press release following the meeting is available HERE.
In full accordance with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommendations, and respecting the decisions of the FIA, Motorsport UK Board members have established the actions to be taken in the UK and approved the following to be implemented with immediate effect:
Recognition of licences issued by the Russian Automobile Federation (RAF) and the Belarus Automobile Federation (BAF) is suspended in the UK. As a consequence:
- 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
- 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 that there is a unilateral response to the crisis.
Richards concluded, “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.”