Formula One terminates contract with Russian Grand Prix

London, UK - Following suit with other international sports organizations who have responded to Russia's ongoing aggression in Ukraine, Formula One has broken ties with the Russian Grand Prix.

Former Haas driver Nikita Mazepin, the sole Russian driver in F1, can still race in the circuit, but now needs a new sponsor to go along with a neutral flag.
Former Haas driver Nikita Mazepin, the sole Russian driver in F1, can still race in the circuit, but now needs a new sponsor to go along with a neutral flag.  © IMAGO/Motorsport Images

This comes six days after the Russian race, scheduled for September 25, was pulled from the calendar.

A statement Thursday read: "Formula One can confirm it has terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix promoter, meaning Russia will not have a race in the future."

F1 bosses announced only last June that an agreement had been reached to move the Russian round of the circuit to Igora Drive, a motorsports complex 40 miles north of St Petersburg, starting in 2023.

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But following the country’s invasion of Ukraine, the sport has moved to scrap the race altogether.

F1’s governing body, the FIA, will still allow Russian drivers to continue racing under a neutral flag.

However, Motorsport UK announced on Wednesday that Russian-licenced drivers have been banned from competing in the United Kingdom.

It means Nikita Mazepin (23), the sole Russian driver on the F1 grid, will not be able to race in July’s British Grand Prix.

Mazepin’s immediate future in F1 is in further jeopardy since motorsports brand Haas also severed ties with the Russian driver on Thursday. His father, Russian oligarch Dmitry Mazepin, is a part-owner of Uralkali, a Russian fertilizer company that was also a title sponsor with Haas.

The Russian Grand Prix started in 2014 after former "F1 Supremo" Bernie Ecclestone struck a lucrative deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ecclestone has been on the record backing the FIA’s stance on Russian drivers, saying, "It was absolutely the right decision by the FIA," but also added that "Russian athletes have nothing to do with this conflict ... They just happen to be Russian."

The FIA has also applied these new restrictions to Belarusian drivers for their country's role in the Ukrainian conflict.

Cover photo: imago/Sven Simon

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