Verstappen and Vettel speak out against Russian Grand Prix after Putin invades Ukraine

Russia today launched an invasion of Ukraine after weeks of escalating tensions.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel have both expressed their opposition to Formula 1 holding a race in Russia this year, with the German saying that he will not be going.

Russia has been deploying a large number of troops to the Ukrainian border for several weeks and, in the early hours of the morning, started launching attacks on military bases after Russian president Vladimir Putin declared a “military operation” in Ukraine.

The European Union have condemned the attack, labelling it “barbaric” and “unprovoked,” and have imposed a fresh package of sanctions against Putin and key backers of the Russian government.

UEFA, football’s governing body, are holding a meeting today to discuss whether St Petersburg should remain the host of the Champions League Final, and ticket sales have been suspended for the Russian Grand Prix.

However, F1 have officially put this down to an error on the website as opposed to anything deliberate.

Testing ahead of the 2022 season has gotten underway in Barcelona this week, and Vettel and Verstappen have both spoken out in a press conference about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“When a country is at war, it is not right to race there,” Verstappen simply said.

Vettel gave a stronger condemnation, and maintains that he will boycott the race in Sochi should F1 still decide to race there.

“I woke up to this morning’s news shocked,” he added.

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“I think it’s horrible to see what is happening, obviously if you look at the calendar we have a race scheduled in Russia.

“For myself, my own opinion is I should not go, I will not go. I think it is wrong to race in that country.

“I’m sorry for the people, innocent people who are losing their lives, getting killed for stupid reasons.”

He went on to describe Russia’s leadership as “strange and mad.”

F1 is currently “closely monitoring” the situation in Russia regarding a possible cancellation of the race in September while Haas, who are backed by Russian firm Uralkali, pulled team principal Guenther Steiner from his media duties today.