Mazepin and other Russian drivers forbidden from racing under country’s flag

2021 F1 season

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Formula 1 driver Nikita Mazepin and other Russian competitors in FIA-run championships are to be forbidden from racing under the country’s flag.

The Russian Automobile Federation, a member club of the FIA, announced on Friday the sport’s governing body had clarified the impact a December ruling of the Court of Arbitration for Sport will have on motor racing.

The CAS largely upheld a decision by the World Anti-Doping Agency against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA). As a result, restrictions on how Russians athletes may compete in world championship sporting events will be imposed for a two-year period. The duration of the restrictions, which came into effect on December 17th, has been cut from four years to two.

The decision prevents Mazepin and other Russian drivers in world championship motorsports from using the image of the Russian flag, or its national symbols such as the two-headed eagle, on their sporting equipment. They are permitted to incorporate the colours of the Russian flag.

They may only use the name ‘Russia’ if it is displayed as prominently as the phrase ‘neutral athlete’. The names ‘Russia’, ‘Russian’, and ‘Russian Automobile Federation’ are otherwise forbidden, though the acronym ‘RAF’ may be used.

The drivers are also forbidden from displaying the Russian flag, including historical versions, or the name ‘Russia’ or associated national symbols in public at FIA-run competitions. Spectators, however, are not banned from waving Russian flags.

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The decision also prevents the playing of the Russian National Anthem at FIA events. This includes at the Russian Grand Prix, which is due to take place on September 26th, where it would ordinarily be performed before the race.

Start, Sochi Autodrom, 2020
Russia’s Sochi Autodrom holds round 15 on the 2021 F1 calendar
According to the RAF, the decision affects Russian athletes competing in world championships, which includes Formula 1, Formula E, the World Endurance Championship, World Rally Championship, World Rallycross Championship and karting world championships. It did not specify that the decision will affect junior series such as Formula 2, which Mazepin raced in last year.

The CAS upheld WADA’s ruling that RUSADA had breached the World Anti-Doping Code. In its judgement the CAS imposed restrictions on “any athlete from Russia” participating in “any world championships organised or sanctioned by any signatory.” The FIA is a signatory to WADA.

WADA rendered its decision on RUSADA in December 2019 based on the findings of the McLaren Report into extent of state-sponsored doping in Russia. The investigation was prompted by the revelations of former Russian anti-doping head Grigory Rodchenkov into how the country operated a programme of doping and concealment at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 74 comments on “Mazepin and other Russian drivers forbidden from racing under country’s flag”

    1. I guess this makes some sense as Mazepin seems to be a bit of a “Dope” ;)

      1. Just like Taiwan, he can’t race under his own flag due to political reasons. Norway has done state sponsorered doping at the winter Olympics. But nothing will happen to them, because they are a friend of the people in charge. That’s why Serena Williams is allowed to get away with using banned drugs but Sharapova was not.

    2. Any idea what they might use? In the Olympics they use the five rings symbol for russian athletes…

      Will they use a little FIA logo next to Nikita’s name?

      1. DriftKingTommi
        6th February 2021, 3:14

        Most likely Mazepin will have to use the FIA logo on his flag. His racing license is temporarily listed as “Neutral Nationality”…

        Taiwan also uses the Olympic symbol instead of their national flag but mostly for political reasons…

      2. @napierrailton Of course, this does mean the FIA needs to get an anthem, just in case a Russian – neutral athlete wins one of the races it manages (in WEC LMP2 class, there’s a reasonable chance of that happening, depending on entrants). As far as I know, the FIA does not currently have such an anthem.

        1. Jaz Coleman can write a nice ditty for the FIA. Probably won’t charge much.

        2. The F1 theme they play before the races on TV?

        3. I’d just play the American anthem for the Haas team and leave it at that.

    3. This is pretty comical.

      We’re happy to race in Russia but not near their national anthem?

      1. No it’s not.

        Since the moment this kids name came up he’s been nothing but trouble for F1 and it’s purity measure. Just dump this damaged Russian and let’s get back to the harmony forecast by those who run this sport. Harmony peace and young men who act like a proper man. Mazitlan is just BAD for Formula One. It’s been decided now off with his head. And the sun will rise again for another star.

        1. Except this has nothing to do with Mazepin’s behaviour. This would apply to any Russian F1 entrant, wholesome or otherwise.

        2. Read the article. Hell, read the headline! This has nothing to do with Mazepin directly.

        3. What an arrogant, holier than thou statement. Mazepin may be a bit of a bell but he is just young and dumb (full of P**s & vinegar).You may have lived a very sheltered life but can you honestly say you would come across well if your formative years were out on display for the world to see and judge? I know I certainly would have been viewed worse than Mazepin if my formative years were public knowledge. Can you really say yours were whiter than white?
          I don’t know.Mazepin. What I’ve seen of him is no worse than I’ve seen from many young men his age. His only crime is being a bit stupid. I, for one, will be looking fwd to seeing him drive this year. Im not sure he’s quite good enough but I really hope he can silence some of these holier than thou critics.
          And… he shouldn’t race under the Russian flag, just like every other Russian athlete cannot.

      2. Hypocrisy. Nord-stream 2. Money.

        1. What does Nordstream 2 have to do with the fact Russia was proven to have a state supported doping scheme that resulted in the country being banned from all sporting events?

          1. Except that Russia hasn´t been banned from any sports, with the exception of Athletics. Especially in winter sports, Russia has been practically unaffected by any sort of punishments or limitations.

      3. Kris Lord, Sochi the circuit has not been caught doping. The “Neutral Athlete” thing is meant to signify an athlete who can verify they are clean without reference to the discredited Russian “anti-doping” system.

    4. – Nikita, we have to find a new logo for your appearances at the top flight. My son what kind of logo would you like?
      – I don’t know Fa.
      – I will help you, what it’s logo should be. Focus at it’s logo.
      – Yeah, we are done.

      1. Oh Jockey, my son, it’s should be without apostrophes in these case :(

        1. And in this case, case is cases, so I know I’m quite much of a basket case.

    5. Now this is pure chauvinism and we all know it’d never happen in case of Americans or the British, no matter the cause. I’d understand penalizing someone for doing something against the rules, but taking the national symbols away from everyone coming from a specific country reminds me of the spirit from the 30’s. At least they’ll be glad that Mazepin can’t use the flag, well I would if I was from Russia.

      1. Neither the USA, nor Britain were every found to have made a mockery of anti-doping rules as Russia is proven to have been doing for an extended period, for a very wide array of sporters, including use of the secret service to do so “Dex”.

        If they would, we can see about comparing the measures.

        1. Frankly Russians are lucky they are allowed to compete on the world stage under the neutral athlete rule.

        2. Plenty of cases, Lance Armstrong for example

          1. Lance Armstrongs drug infringements were not state sponsored and the US did not try to cover up his results.

            Russia has a state sponsored doping system and they have consistently done their best to destroy evidence, tamper with equipment, hamper WADAs investigations and generally just be shady.

            That is very different from one person or even a team participating in doping and is why they are being punished in this way. Personally I think it is too lenient given the evidence and they should not be allowed to compete in anything until Russia starts to cooperate.

      2. The British and Americans didn’t have state sponsored programs where government employees were acting in bad faith to deceive international anti-doping authorities. That is a terrible comparison. Apples to oranges.

      3. British and American athletes who were caught setting up their own doping arrangements were kicked out without apology.

        The only reason some Russian athletes are permitted to continue is because some of them were able to get independent verification that they weren’t taking drugs, that did not require reference to the Russian system (that was found to be severely compromised).

      4. You were there in the 30’s to draw first hand accounts?

    6. I didn’t know F1 teams were drug tested, as in testing for performance enhancing drugs. I would expect it for illegal and “performance inhibiting” drugs, similar to what many employers do, but for performance enhancing drugs?
      If the FIA are signed up to the World Anti-doping Agencies protocols then they should be undertaking their responsibility by doing random drug testing at every GP.

      1. Apparently WADA investigated porridge to see whether it really is performance enhancing.

      2. @drycrust The FIA joined WADA 10 years ago and its anti-doping regulations are detailed in the International Sporting Code.

        Off the top of my head, I believe drivers have been tested during race weekends in the past, but they can also get the call at any time – after all, that’s what’s ‘random’ about it. Part of the reason for that is performance-enhancing drugs aren’t only used at the point of competition, but also to help the body recover from the stresses and strains of training. The need to detect this as well as doping at the point of competition is why the simpler forms of drug controls used previously were replaced by athlete biological passports.

          1. @drycrust it is also worth noting that, whilst in Formula 1 there has not been a case of an individual being penalised for such an offence, over in MotoGP, Andrea Iannone received a 4 year ban after testing positive for drostanolone, a banned steroid – so, there are occasional instances of such penalties being imposed in motorsport.

        1. Sorry but I completely disagree with what you wrote.

          1. That’s Keith that I strongly disagree with not Stephen

            1. someone or something
              6th February 2021, 1:48

              It’s hard to see what you’re disagreeing with. Keith’s comment is all facts and zero opinion …
              Be great if you could clarify what you mean.

            2. I disagree with you disagreeing…

            3. It would help if you specified WHAT you disagree with and WHY you disagree.

              It’s a pretty useless statement without those details.

      3. I don’t know, the only case I met close to F1, was Tomáš Enge being tested positive for cannabis at 2002. Later he was tested positive for I don’t know what at the GT1 championship. Cannabis is not a performance enchancer for sure, at least not at a sport that requires mental reliability and quickness. He was a quite promising driver given the possibilities at Central Europe by his time, the drivers beaten him at F3000 at 2001 and 2002 had some decent years or at least more races at F1 or Indy, including : Mark Webber, Justing Wilson, Sebastian Bourdais and Giorgio Pantano.

        Although I think FIA should test for performance inhibitinga and enchanting drugs as well, and I think they are testing sometimes, if Enge with this quite inhibiting drug were caught. Although the list of performance enchanting drugs are likely far from complete in sports where it is about being quick and reliable.

        1. Sorry … Justin Wilson

        2. Cannabis worked for James.

          1. I’d assert James was fast in spite of his lifestyle, not because of it. And why he had no longevity. Still, F1 sure could use more personality nowadays.

      4. I remember the drivers complaining a few years ago of this beign another example of the FIA not enforcing its rules except for the wrong reasons. I believe Button said he hadn’t been tested in like 8 years and another driver -Pérez?- that he had never been called for a test. This happened after some scandal in other sport or so because suddenly FIA started doing tests for PR reasons and completely stopped as soon as the scandal faded away.

      5. @drycrust The FIA does do random drug testing, not only at Grands Prix, but through the “whereabouts” system (where drivers have to give surprise out-of-competition samples). There is a question about whether the FIA does enough testing (I think it only does 10 out-of-competition tests a year, and focuses on front-runners).

        Formula E is on the same system. Franck Montagny’s racing career ended when he tested positive for a cocaine derirative at the end of the 2014 Putrajaya Formula E race.

        Also, there has been an example of a F1 driver failing a drugs test… …Rubens Barrichello back in 1995. His doctor had advised him to take paracetamol for a headache, and nobody involved (including the FIA doctor, if I recall correctly) had realised paracetamol was on the WADA banned list. And, Finagle’s Law meant that was the day Rubens had a drugs test… Fortunately for Rubens, it pre-dated the “strict liability” doctrine, and everyone was simply told not to do it again. These days, WADA would point to paracetamol’s presence on the “banned in-competition” list that all athletes and advisors are meant to check before taking medicine, and levy a penalty without remorse.

    7. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      5th February 2021, 23:27

      This is just surreal

    8. So I assume in the 1 in a million chance Mazepin wins a race they won’t be able to play the Russian anthem on the podium. So I’m trying to think what song they could play instead? I’m sure there is a good joke here, just can’t think of one.

      1. Any song by Pussyriot.

      2. As a russian i’m fine with that in Mazepin’s case

    9. Maybe Putin won’t attend the race in Sochi then.

      How I laughed when Bernie praised the quality of organization of the race there as proof that democracy does not work.
      Next to him, laughing sheepishly, stood the ‘democratically’ chosen president of the Russian federation who had just been told by implication that he is in fact a dictator. Possibly the mightiest man in the world, but not there and then.

      It seemed that the whole world missed the joke, infuriated by Bernie’s dismissal of democracy. Putin did not miss it, he was annoyed, but knew the old fox had him cornered; there was nothing he could really do about it and everyone else would not get it anyway.

      1. someone or something
        6th February 2021, 1:50

        Today on ‘Mental Gymnastics’ …

    10. someone or something
      6th February 2021, 1:27

      I guess that makes Mazepin an RAF pilot.

    11. F1 only now doing what other sports have done for years… 🤔

      1. It wasn’t allowed to do anything prior to this, since there was no legal basis on which to prevent Russian competitors from using the Russian flag, anthem or name until the 17 December appeal went through.

    12. They may only use the name ‘Russia’ if it is displayed as prominently as the phrase ‘neutral athlete’.

      ?! Does that mean you have to space the letters out like Ruuuuuuusssiaaaa?
      I guess the first rule of the Russian Automobile Federation is you don’t talk about the Russian Automobile Federation. Damn. Just broken it.
      Seriously, is this meant to be taken seriously? It’s absurd.

    13. Is 2014 coming into Formula 1 just now ?

      1. @jeff1s Due to sloppy wording in the original judgment and a subsequent appeal, yes.

    14. It’s a nonsense. Even though I’ve never been keen on Russian displays of nationalism, banning all the symbols from use doesn’t really feel like helping anything. By the way, any restrictions on banning political slogans and open enouragement to arrest people on the podium?

      1. @pironitheprovocateur Unless you catch a political slogan doping, probably not. As for arresting people on the podium, I would have thought that would have happened in the green room rather than the podium – but I don’t think F1 would be averse to that if legally required to do so. (Not that doping would usually result in an arrest).

    15. So, athletes can’t display the flag, the anthem can’t be played, the country’s name can’t be pronounced, but…world level events can be held in Russia?
      That makes A LOT of sense.

      1. Yeah I don´t follow that either. If FIA publicly pledges to adhere to WADA rules why is this year´s GP taking place (and GP next year and possibly GP in two years time)? Isn´t it a flagrant breach of WADA punishment to Russia?

        Maybe FIA tried to explain that in the past, but I cant recall that. If Formula 1 round classifies as a World Championship event then there must be no race held in Sochi?!

        1. @alianora-la-canta As far as I know, the ruling doesn’t cover events located in Russia, provided the anti-doping cover isn’t Russian and doesn’t involve Russia. Which seems odd given that Sochi was where the whole mess unravelled, but there you go…

    16. This is nonsense.
      What does doping in athletics have to do with an F1 driver?

      1. F1 drivers are considered athletes, and are covered by WADA for anti-doping purposes, just like athletics. Therefore F1 is bound by the same rules as athletics (and about two dozen other sports) regarding anti-doping judgments.

    17. @pironitheprovocateur I have to agree, i’m no fan of any ardent nationalism, but this doesn’t really seem like it will help. It’s not really a punishment, it will only breed resentment and ultimately division. If the problem is state organised doping, the I don’t see how telling Nikita Mazepin to take a flag off his overalls is really all that productive, in this instance he hasn’t actually done anything wrong.

      As for political slogans, Ferrucci (Mazepin, before Mazepin was Mazepin) got in bother for wanting ‘Make America Great Again’ on the car and was ultimately overruled. As for being arrested on the podium, Andrea Sassetti was arrested in the paddock, but mostly because he was unlikely to be found on the podium.

      1. It’s productive because the part of Russia that did do wrong doesn’t get to pick its terms of engagement with international sport.

    18. So what will happen to the “Russian Grand Prix” name?

      1. Probably will be renamed to the Sucki Gran Prix;)

      2. DarthVadersFather
        7th February 2021, 16:16

        Probably Grand Prix That Happens To Takes Place In Russia.

    19. Royal Air Forde driver, Nikita Mazepin. I like it.

    20. A perfect time to dump the boring track….

    21. Wow, this article is actually pinned on the front page

    22. So silly and inflammatory. All countries dope.

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