Formula 1 has reportedly opted not to give Russia’s entry fee back to race promoter Rosgonki, and VTB, the Russian state-owned bank that sponsored the event, will not be reimbursing them.
F1 was set to hold the ninth Russian Grand Prix in Sochi this season having made its first appearance there in 2014, the same year that the Winter Olympics were hosted there.
However, it was called off by the FIA after Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine, and F1 would later terminate its contract with the promoters of the Russian Grand Prix.
It means that the proposed switch to St Petersburg next year will no longer go ahead, and the pinnacle of motorsport is highly unlikely to consider returning there until after Putin’s presidency is over.
Hundreds of Russian oligarchs and businesspeople has financial sanctions imposed on them as a result of the war, and F1 will not refund the fee that Rosgonki paid for this year.
Andrey Kostin, chairman of VTB, confirmed that the bank will not be paying the promoter the fee out of their pockets either, stating that F1 should be paying back the money.
“Us compensate?” told RBC-Sport.
“On the contrary, we left Rosgonki because Rosgonki made an advance payment for holding Formula 1 in Russia and they can’t get the money back.
“So far there are no grounds for not returning the money.”
Kostin also affirmed that F1 cannot rekindle or sustain any kind of relationship with Russia under the current circumstances.
“No, this cannot be resumed in the current situation,” he added.
“But we will develop some national projects at the St Petersburg site. In Sochi, that site will most likely be transformed for other types of events.”
Russian driver Nikita Mazepin lost his drive with Haas because of the end of their relationship with Uralkali, the company part-owned by his father Dmitry, the sponsorship of whom paid for the 23-year-old’s drive last year.