Marko reacts to Russia’s ‘unimaginable’ war against Ukraine after Russian GP cancelled

The Russian Grand prix has officially been cancelled by the FIA.

Dr Helmut Marko has backed Formula 1’s decision not to race in Russia this year after the FIA confirmed the cancellation of September’s event.

Vladimir Putin ordered his Russian troops to invade Ukraine last week, leading to global condemnation and numerous fresh sanctions against Moscow.

The response within the F1 paddock was a swift one, and Haas immediately pulled Russian firm Uralkali’s branding from their cars, trucks and motorhomes, while an F1 statement declared it “impossible” to race in Russia given the horrific conflict currently taking place.

Mohammed ben Sulayem, president of the FIA, met with fellow members of the motorsport governing body on Tuesday to discuss their appropriate actions regarding the war in Eastern Europe, and ruled that Russian and Belarusian drivers are to retain their right to race as long as they use the neutral flag.

Further, they decided that Russian and Belarusian branding is to be banned from appearing on cars or team apparel, but we understand that Uralkali will still be able to provide funding to Haas.

They then officially announced that the Russian Grand Prix was cancelled under “force Majeure,” a contractual clause that removes liability for a failure to fulfil obligations due to a catastrophe that precludes it.

Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen had previously spoken out against the race that was set to be held in September, with the German affirming that he would have boycotted the event had the pinnacle of motorsport still opted to travel there.

Dr Marko takes their side, and affirms that F1 cannot hold a race in a country that is an aggressor of war.

“It was very clear from our drivers that they don’t want to drive in a country that has triggered such a war of aggression,” he told RTL.

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“It is actually unimaginable that something like this could happen. Then when you see the brutality with which they are proceeding and the threatening gestures, it’s all very, very frightening.”

The Austrian is pleased with the solidarity Europe has shown against Russia after multiple sanctions were issued against Putin, before a standing ovation was given to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the European parliament, and a walkout was staged during Russian minister of foreign affairs Sergei Lavrov’s address.

“The positive side for me now is the cohesion within Europe,” said Marko. “The fact that they are showing ‘you cannot do this’,” added the 78-year-old.

“I can only fully understand all the sanctions and support them personally.”

However, he opines that more could have been done to prevent the sickening events in Eastern Europe, saying of European countries that “we criminally neglected spending on the military.”

“We all believed, in our war-free state, that we can rely on laws and regulations.”

He praised the decision to remove Russia from the calendar as it is “the only right thing to do,” and he maintains that boycotting the race is a tremendous show of solidarity from the sport.

“Sport is a way to present and distinguish yourself. It would only be counterproductive if we gave Russia the chance to position itself positively again to a worldwide audience with a grand prix,” he explained.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has now entered its seventh day.