Keep politics out of sport, says Russian ex-F1 star
Russian racing driver Daniil Kvyat made calls for peace in Ukraine amid Russia's military offensive in the country, but also blasted organizations such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for mixing politics with sports by recommending that Russian and Belarusian athletes be banned from international events.
According to Kvyat, who previously drove for Red Bull, such exclusion is unfair and "goes against what sports teaches us in its principle".
"I really hope for a peaceful solution to this situation in Ukraine, and that we can all live in peace," Kvyat began in a social media address on Tuesday.
"Hopefully all parties can find a solution sitting together and through respectful dialogue.
"It horrifies me to see two brotherhood nations in 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," the 27-year-old stressed.
Moving on to the swift measures by some organizing bodies however, Kvyat wanted "to highlight and address [to] all sports federations across the world, including [the] IOC, that sport should remain outside politics.
"Disallowing Russian athletes and teams from participating in world competitions is an unfair solution and goes against what sports teaches us in its principle – unity and peace," Kvyat added, before asking: "Who else, if not us sportspeople, will help to glue nations together in the upcoming times?"
Some have claimed that compatriot Nikita Mazepin's F1 future is at risk given the statement from the IOC, but the 22-year-old received backing from Haas team principal Guenther Steiner, who reportedly said the youngster has "nothing to do with" Russia's military actions in Ukraine.
An FIA extraordinary meeting was scheduled for Tuesday to discuss the crisis, but Kvyat could miss an upcoming race in the World Endurance Championships if the racing body follows the IOC's commands as his Russian G-Drive Racing team owned by gas giant Gazprom and oil company Yukos also faces being thrown out of the tournament.
In a development possibly caused by recent events, the entry list for June's Le Mans 24 Hours race was meant to be released on February 28 but was delayed due to what the Automobile Club de l'Ouest at the legendary track dubbed "admin issues".
F1 officials have already said it would be "impossible" to hold the Grand Prix scheduled for the Russian resort of Sochi later this year "in the current circumstances."