Russia insists it won’t withdraw from the FIA

No Russian driver has been linked to Formula 1 since the conflict in Eastern Europe started last year.

Russian billionaire Boris Rotenberg has insisted that Russia has no intentions currently to withdraw from the FIA, despite the governing body having placed rules upon all Russian drivers.

Following the ignition of the conflict in Eastern Europe, the FIA have stated that any Russian driver competing in a series governed by them must denounce their nation’s actions.

The FIA’s demands plus sanctions from Western Europe, resulted in the vast majority of Russian drivers to return to their country.

This was the case for Nikita Mazepin, who had no choice but to return to Russia due to his father’s ties with the Russian government.

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Some competitors, like Ferrari academy driver Robert Shwartzman and ex-F1 driver Daniil Kvyat, obtained a racing licence from another country.

In Schwartzman’s case, this was made possible by the fact he was born in Israel, and was therefore eligible to apply for dual citizenship.

The likes of SMP Racing – who Rotenberg founded in 2012 – were also banned from competing in FIA governed championships.

It’s all put a spanner in the works for aspiring Russian racing drivers, although Rotenberg has insisted that training is being created to support their careers.

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He also stated that for the time being, Russia won’t end its ties with the FIA, who cancelled the Russian Grand Prix last season.

“We are currently creating conditions for (motorsport) training. We have brought Formula 4 here so that kids from karting can transition and continue to progress,” Rotenberg told Tass News Agency.

“We will continue to focus on Asian countries and hold events there because the FIA is doing the same thing. So we won’t withdraw – we’re waiting to see how the situation unfolds,” Rotenberg added.

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A benefit of Russian racing drivers returning to compete in their home country is that it’s increased the competitiveness and quality of their championships.

“All the drivers who used to race in Europe and around the world are now racing in our championship,” said Rotenberg.

“There were 119 cars and 119 drivers at the seventh stage of the Russian Circuit Racing Championship, and in 2014 there were only 35. So there’s been growth.”