Formula 3 MP Motorsport driver Alexander Smolyar has been denied entry into the United Kingdom and banned from competing in this weekend’s British Grand Prix.
Smolar is officially Russian, but flags of both Russia and Belarus have been barred by the FIA in global motorsport events due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
He therefore races under the Andorran licence, but his was denied a visa to enter the UK, before he was told that, even had his visa gone through, he would be barred from racing in Silverstone this weekend, according to Tass news agency.
Earlier this year, just after Russia started their war on Ukraine, Motorsport UK chairman David Richards confirmed that no Russian or Belarusian competitors would be permitted to race in Silverstone this year.
“This decision was made in full consultation with the UK government and national sports governing bodies to ensure that there is a unilateral response to the crisis,” he affirmed in a statement.
“It is our duty to use whatever influence and leverage we might have to bring this wholly unjustified invasion of Ukraine to a halt.”
The royal automobile federation (RAF) in Russia, accused Motorsport UK of contravening the FIA’s code against “discrimination” with their decision.
Smolyar, who won two races in F3 last year with ART, has contested six races so far in 2022, ending on the podium in Bahrain before scoring points in Imola and Barcelona.
His inability to contest this weekend’s event coincides with Wimbledon’s decision not to allow any Russian or Belarusian players to play at Wimbledon.
In retaliation to this, the ATP and WTA stripped competing players of any ranking points at the tournament, effectively making it an exhibition tournament.
Dmitry Svishchev, a sports administrator in Russia, was unhappy at the decision not to allow Russian competitors to contest the British Grand Prix.
“British sports organizations have already revealed themselves in the Wimbledon situation,” he said, quoted by grandpx.news.
“Now we see the same story, but in motorsport. I think that the FIA needs to intervene in this situation because it is an unjustified discrimination based on nationality.”
Smolyar has been replaced by Filip Ugran, who raced in F3 20 times with Jenzer last season.