Defiant Russian official tears into the FIA for ‘violating the Olympic Charter’

There will likely be no Russian Grand Prix until Vladimir Putin is out of office.

Senior Russian official Sergey Ivanov has criticised Formula 1 for their handling of Russian motorsport amid the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

In February, the FIA was quickly sparked into action when Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and the governing body moved to ban all Russian and Belarusian symbols and colours from motorsport events globally.

They stipulated that drivers and teams from those two countries could only compete under a neutral flag, and they cancelled the Russian Grand Prix this year.

Shortly thereafter, F1 announced that it had terminated its contract with the promoters of the Russian Grand Prix, and there will be no race in the country for the foreseeable future.

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It means that the planned race in St Petersburg was cancelled, but the Igora Drive Circuit was opened recently as Russian motorsport attempts to get global series involved with the circuit.

Multiple motorsport governing bodies and FIA members banned Russian athletes from racing in their countries in any capacity.

Ferrari junior driver Robert Shwartzman is racing under an Israeli license, while Alexander Smolyar had to miss the British Grand Prix in Formula 3 because, although he races with an Andorran license, Motorsport UK banned him from competing.

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Ivanov believes that the FIA are guilty of mixing politics with sport as he accepted that plans for the Igora Drive Circuit have to be pushed back.

“The situation is such that there are difficulties for us,” he said.

“International competitions were cut off for us, which is dishonourable on the part of the FIA. 

“They violated the Olympic charter by mixing politics with sport so we are forced to postpone what was planned here for the time being.”

However, the 69-year-old believes that there is a future for Russia in world motorsport.

“But the sport will not die here,” added Ivanov.

“I noticed that when it becomes difficult, for some reason there is a breakthrough so I am sure that the venue will be busy.”

Nikita Mazepin was dropped by Haas as a result of the war in Ukraine, and he has been competing in the Silk Way Rally in his first official motorsport event since his dismissal from the F1 team.