Russian F1 star barred from British GP despite clearance from global authority
Russian F1 driver Nikita Mazepin has been barred from the British Grand Prix in July after a statement made by Motorsport UK.
Unlike other sporting bodies such as football's UEFA and FIFA, who have prevented Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in international events following an International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommendation, motorsport authority the FIA – which governs Formula 1 – has decided against a total ban on Russian drivers.
Instead, the FIA ruled that racers such as Mazepin must compete "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".
However, Motorsport UK chair David Richards has confirmed in a separate statement that the 23-year-old Russian will not be able to run out for his team Haas at Silverstone this summer unless the situation changes.
Motorsport UK said it respected the FIA's decision, but confirmed that Russian and Belarusian licensed competitors or officials are not approved to participate in UK motorsport events and that no Russian and Belarusian national symbols, colors, or flags either on uniforms, equipment, or cars can be displayed at any of its events.
Motorsport UK said that the ruling was made in consultation with the British government and UK national sports governing bodies so that a unilateral response could be made, and added through Richards that it is the organization's duty "to use whatever influence and leverage we might have" to bring the invasion of Ukraine "to a halt".
"We would encourage our colleagues around the world to fully embrace the recommendations of the International Committee and do whatever we can to end this war", Motorsport UK said.
While ex-Russian F1 driver Daniil Kyvat told the IOC to keep politics out of sport, Mazepin has only addressed the conflict on one occasion on February 25.
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 @HaasF1Team . My deepest thanks for your understanding and support. 🙏— Nikita Mazepin (@nikita_mazepin) February 25, 2022
"To my fans and followers," he tweeted. "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 team," Mazepin said while tagging Haas.
"My deepest thanks for your understanding and support."
With the Russian Grand Prix removed from the 2022 calendar, the new F1 season gets underway in Bahrain on March 20.