Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

Gasly urges support for Ukraine as drivers praise decision to cancel Russian GP

2022 F1 season

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Pierre Gasly made an impassioned plea for countries to support Ukraine and praised Formula 1’s decision not to race in Russia following the country’s invasion of its neighbour.

F1 announced earlier today it would be “impossible” for the race to go ahead. Gasly was one of several drivers to praise the move.

“I’m actually really pleased this decision was was made,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “To me, it’s completely the right one.

“Especially knowing they are in war, personally I don’t support the actions they are taking right now, so it’s kind of a relief F1 is also supporting and cancelling the grand prix itself.”

Gasly said he was “personally affected, having some people close to me who are in Ukraine right now.

“It’s a very difficult situation and very scary because these people don’t know if they’re going to be able to make it out there and whether they’re going to be able to see their relatives.

“So hopefully they can find a solution. About the Russian Grand Prix, I think it was definitely the right decision to make.”

Gasly said he had seen footage of the attacks which began after Russia sent military personnel into the country on Thursday morning. “It’s really, really sad to see what’s happening, in 2022, to see some people, families, basically breaking families and people dying from basically a reason which I don’t support is very sad and especially seeing all these videos.”

“I do hope other countries really support Ukraine in that sense because it’s a small country, we know how powerful Russia is,” he added. “We know how many people they have. It’s kind of an unfair fight in a way. I’m just very sorry and feeling very sad for these families out there who are actually quite stuck.”

Lando Norris, who took pole position for last year’s race in Sochi, said he did not want to go to Russia this year.

“It’s sad to see what’s going on in the world right now. I think it’s a very good decision Formula 1 have made, because personally it’s not a place I would want to be going right now.

“It’s very sad to see everything that’s just going on and the innocent lives which are being taken as well.”

Yesterday Sebastian Vettel said he would not race in Russia if the grand prix went ahead. Today George Russell said the drivers “all would have stood together in that” with him “but fortunately the guys in the helm of Formula 1 and the FIA came to a conclusion very quickly so we didn’t have to make any difficult decisions.

“So I’m thankful the decision has been made and so swiftly as well.”

This article will be updated.

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Author information

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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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17 comments on “Gasly urges support for Ukraine as drivers praise decision to cancel Russian GP”

  1. I think I read somewhere previously that Gasly’s girlfriend is from Ukraine. Scary times.

  2. We should also cancel the US grand prix for the atrocities the US committed and still commits to this day, and the Chinese Grand prix as well.
    The hypocrisy level is sky high.

    1. @abdelilah Or Saudi Arabian GP & a few others. However, this matter is slightly different in magnitude.

      1. @jerejj I can go on, the list will be quite long.
        But what strikes me is the attitude of seeing human crimes only when it comes from some specific geographic areas, even when they are lesser.
        USA dropped nuclear bombs when it wasn’t even necessary (Japan was about to capitulate anyway), yet most of us are happy for having the united states Grand prix going ahead.

        1. I believe they consider the fact too old, we’ve also had plenty of german gps despite what hitler did.

          1. @esploratore1 the Iraqi invasion didn’t stop the US grand prix from going ahead in 2003.
            It all depends on which side of the wall you are, if you’re in the right side, you can do pretty much what you want, and have your own media to cover for it, that’s the sad reality of this world.
            The strong eats the weak.

        2. @abdelilah I think two factors affect it; the geographical proximity of Sochi to the frontlines (they are really very close, even assuming Abkhazia doesn’t break out as a second front) and also the fact that economic sanctions may mean the promoter is unable to pay for the grand prix, which as we all know – well, cash is king.

          1. Both things Hazel mentions certainly should be taken in account, especially that last thing is what will most likely have sealed the deal

          2. @hazelsouthwell thanks for this insight, I agree that this could endanger participants.
            What I don’t agree with is the “shock” these drivers are expressing, completely overlooking the facts (see my reply below).
            It really pushes to question if these people don’t read enough, or they’re simply biased in their opinions (which seems more plausible).

    2. Not that I don’t agree we shouldn’t be racing in Saudi Arabia, but at least get your facts straight and use your brain. Who’s attacking their neighbour, driving thousands of people out of their homes and endangering lives of millions of men who’ll be drafted? Who? Please, tell me clearly and loudly and let’s stop playing with whataboutism.

      1. @pironitheprovocateur I invite you to to do the same, see facts without bias, without thinking that the western civilization is cute, and that the rest is evil.
        Imagine someone installing missiles near your house, will you stay put and watch the scene ? well that’s exactly the situation for Russia, Putin proposed the western block to join the Nato and they refused, instead they considered him as an enemy and deployed nuclear missiles near his borders, threatening the safety of millions of Russian people.
        If there is someone to blame in this, it’s the Ukrainian president who just followed blindly his “allies”.

    3. Don’t forget the UK, France, Germany, Holland, Italy etc. They all had soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    4. And Canada and Australia! Their oppressive dictators are out of control.

  3. I’m happily surprised with the speed and defiance of F1. I expected a lot more wrangling behind the scenes. Everyone seems to have jumped into the same boat. Obviously it’s difficult for some, with associations etc, but as a collective, what was only 24hrs ago Seb Vettel saying something that might be seen as controversial, it seems the paddock is with him.

    F1 could’ve and often has, skirted around these issues.

    1. @bernasaurus Well, IMHO, they have just skirted around it with their weak statement, which doesn’t even say the race is cancelled, just that it “can’t be held in the current circumstances“.

      1. @scbriml I’m glad someone noticed that wording.

  4. Hat off to Pierre, but apart from him and Seb I miss stronger support for the Ukrainian people from the paddock. All the millionaires from the cockpits, team managements and F1’s board are very careful with their words and are as cut off from the everyday people as they can be.

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