Nikita Mazepin, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

FIA puts restrictions on Russian competitors but stops short of barring drivers

2022 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

The FIA has confirmed Russian drivers are allowed to continue competing in international motorsport events following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Ukraine motorsport federation urged the sport’s governing body earlier this week to impose restrictions against competitors from Russia, following the outbreak of war six days ago.

The FIA World Motor Sport Council discussed the matter in an extraordinary meeting earlier today. Afterwards it confirmed in a statement Russian competitors will only be allowed to compete in international motorsport if they do so in a neutral capacity under the flag of the sport’s governing body.

The same applies to drivers from Belarus, whose country helped to facilitate the invasion by Russia. Competitors from the two countries will be required to make a “specific commitment and adherence to the FIA’s principles of peace and political neutrality, until further notice”.

The FIA also confirmed national symbols, colours and flags relating to the countries may not be displayed on the uniform, equipment or cars of competitors.

The FIA’s announcement means Haas Formula 1 driver Nikita Mazepin can continue to compete in the series. Haas declined to comment following the FIA announcement.

Start, Sochi Autodrom, 2020
There will be no F1 race in Russia this year
The International Olympic Committee, which formally recognised the FIA 10 years ago, yesterday recommended Russian and Belarusian athletes be barred from competitions.

The FIA also confirmed no international events will be held in Russia or Belarus “until further notice”. The cancellation of the Russian Grand Prix, which was due to take place in September, was ratified “for reason of force majeure”.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said the governing body “stand in solidarity with Leonid Kostyuchenko, the President of the Federation Automobile d’Ukraine (FAU) and the wider FIA family in the country.”

“The measures taken today recognise the authority of the FAU in Ukraine and are also aligned with the recommendations recently made by the International Olympic Committee.

“We are in active discussions with our members as we continue to extend our compassion and support in their time of need. We sincerely hope for a peaceful resolution to their intolerable hardship.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

FIA statement following extraordinary meeting of WMSC

In his opening remarks to the meeting, the FIA President said: “As you know, the FIA is watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock and I hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation. We condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and our thoughts are with all those suffering as a result of the events in Ukraine. I would like to stress that the FIA, together with our promoters, proactively acted on this matter last week and communicated accordingly on the Formula 1, Formula 2, WTCR and the International Drifting Cup. An updated version of the different FIA International Calendars will be presented to the WMSC meeting in Bahrain for approval.”

In accordance with the International Olympic Committee recommendations, council members approved the following decisions to be implemented with immediate effect:

Competitions organized on the territory of Russia and Belarus

No international/zone competition to take place in Russia and Belarus, until further notice
No flag/symbol or anthem of Russia/Belarus to be used in international/zone competitions, until further notice

Drivers, competitors and officials

No Russian/Belarusian national teams to participate in international/zone competitions (e.g. FIA Motorsport Games), until further notice.

Russian/Belarusian drivers, individual competitors and officials to participate in international/zone competitions only in their neutral capacity and under the ‘FIA flag’, subject to specific commitment and adherence to the FIA’s principles of peace and political neutrality, until further notice.

No Russian/Belarusian national symbols, colours, flags (uniform, equipment and car) – should be displayed or anthems should be played at international/zone competitions, until further notice.

FIA Elected officers/Commissions’ members

Representatives from Russian/Belarusian FIA Members to step aside temporarily from their roles and responsibilities of elected officers/commissions’ members*

FIA grants

No FIA grant to be awarded to the Russian/Belarusian FIA Members, until further notice*
No existing FIA grant funding will be paid to the Russian/Belarusian FIA Members*

*Subject to the approval of the World Council for Automobile Mobility and Tourism

FIA International Sporting Calendar

Upon proposal of the F1 Commercial Rights Holder, cancellation of the 2022 Russian F1 Grand Prix for reason of Force Majeure.

The FIA President added: “I want to thank the Council members for their prompt action in deciding these measures in the interests of sport and peace. We stand in solidarity with Leonid Kostyuchenko, the President of the Federation Automobile d’Ukraine (FAU) and the wider FIA family in the country.

“The measures taken today recognise the authority of the FAU in Ukraine and are also aligned with the recommendations recently made by the International Olympic Committee. We are in active discussions with our members as we continue to extend our compassion and support in their time of need. We sincerely hope for a peaceful resolution to their intolerable hardship.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2022 F1 season

Browse all 2022 F1 season articles

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

76 comments on “FIA puts restrictions on Russian competitors but stops short of barring drivers”

  1. Well, I didn’t comment in the previous discussion about Kvyat’s statement (which I mentioned elsewhere as “he has a point, it isn’t fair, but war isn’t either”), but I think this is a good compromise.

    There is the whole non-nation athlete status that got introduced mainly due to the Russian Olympics ban thanks to their earlier blatant state-doping program and cover-up. Now, this war is a whole different level of escalation, but equally, the athletes cannot really be blamed more for this than for the earlier. Allowing them to compete w/o letting Russia take credit (in some ways, effectively asking them to disown their country) seems fair enough in that light.

    As for Mazepin, well, I don’t know about the contract Haas has with him, or his (sanctioned?) father, but it’s up to the team now so if they have the money he’ll probably drive. From a human and driver perspective, I’d prefer another to get the seat, but really that doesn’t have much to do with him being Russian, so fair enough too.

    1. @bosyber You mean you don’t think Mazepin should pay a price for standing still and letting Putin get on with his genocide? How can you say athletes can’t be blamed? They are all Russian people… the same people who didn’t keep Putin accountable for beatings of his own people for protesting, removal of independent media, non-stop wars around the world, sponsoring of separatists in East of Ukraine, and takeover of Crimea. This man had been invading other countries for decades without consequences. All because his people let him.

      1. So what do you think Mazepin should do? Consider that people who are outspoken in their criticism of Putin tend to have health complications as a result.

        His father might have some influence with Putin– or not.

        1. @grat, are those complications going to be worse than health complications of Ukrainians aka death?
          @Zink, so it your position that electorate aren’t responsible for their leader? My logic tells me that they are, how much of course is debateble but they are on some level. Sippenhaft and the whole “collective punishment” is tainted by history… which negatively highlight how these ideas can be implemented but there are also examples where it is just to apportion blame to people because they were responsible for actions of another. Context is important. Nobody wants to accept blame these days or dig into philosophy of fairness / justice , but it doesn’t make it wrong.

          1. Broccoliface
            2nd March 2022, 2:29

            “electorate” LMAO

      2. So Mazepin should release any statement, saying he does not support war and that would be it?
        C’mon statements with no meaning what so ever are too common in F1.

        Wow with all due respect but your “logic” really creeps me up. And this might be from a German educated perspective but what you are asking for is “Sippenhaft” (trans. Kinship detention). I hope I do not need to explain what it is or which regime was a big fan of it :/ Putin did something terrible wrong, starting a war, but you can not blame another Russian for what Putin has done!

        And on a side note F1 drivers and personnel might be the prototype of a “Global-Citizen”, many of them do not even spent half a year, where ever they got their residence. This makes the question of nationality even more a joke.

      3. People let it happen you say? Ukraine was under dictatorship throughout all of its history. Even now when it’s semi-democratic republic it’s the most corrupt society in Europe after Russia and probably Moldova. What did you do about it? I hope you get my point. I’m not comparing aggression to corruption, but don’t play naive here and pretend that we’re all at fault for what our governments do. Were all Ukrainians nazis because of Bandera? Were all Ukrainians communists because they were a part of SSSR? Of course not. Grow up and abort the witch hunt.

      4. I get what you are saying @ivan-vinitskyy, and this morning’s message that a Ukranian 19 year old biathlon athlete was killed, being the third known Ukranian athlete that died in this war certainly stresses how the view that banning an athlete for his country starting a brutal war is unfair is easy to disagree with.

        Still, as we have been able to observe in Belarus last year, standing up to brutal violence of your state is not easy nor guaranteed to work; sure reports now people there are trying to stop russian and belarus military from acting in that country are great, but it is not for nothing that we consider those brave actions; Russia arresting a 10 year old for holding a ‘peace’ sign shows just how far they are willing to go to stop any protest. So yes, I think from that point of view, allowing athletes to compete but not sport their flag for now can be reasonable.

        Dean come on, the current president of Ukraine was elected in a fair (acc. to impartial observers) election, elected to combat the corruption is predecessor wasn’t able or willing to tackle (and to try and get peace with Russia, but well).

  2. Stopping national representation had to be done.

    And calling it an invasion was important, too.

    1. Totally agree. If Mazepin was genuinely against the war, he would step down from driving the car. It would be a comparatively small sacrifice (compared to dead Ukranians), but a very effective globally-reported message.

  3. Now to Haas, if Mazapin isn’t paying does he still drive? I can’t imagine there is any loop hole that would allow Haas to accept any funding from the Mazapin family or companies.

    1. I think that if you look at the announcement from Haas after removing those russian flag decals from the car @blueruck, they made it pretty clear that the moment the Mazepin money is not there, the kid is out as well. They are not going to run a pay driver who is not paying up.

    2. So no money no ride this is as usual for F1 so if there are drivers with money there is a good chance Mazepin losses his seat.

    3. Something tells me that Haas would have welcomed Russian drivers to be banned by the FIA, so they could get out of Mazepin’s contract without any penalty.

    4. @blueruck The fact that Steiner was talking openly last week about who would replace Mazepin suggests that he’s as good as gone.

  4. Bad option.
    What is FIA afraid of? Putin?

    1. I think the real question is how many big wigs in the FIA do not like having to listen to things like complaints about wars being waged by their respective countries, human rights being flushed down the drain etc. @win7golf

  5. It’s too feeble to have any effect.

    1. @zann agreed. The reality is anyone who can afford motorsport from Russia is likely connected to the government there. It feels like a token decision.

      That said, the appetite to spend russian money on motorsport may well dry up as the price exponentially increases due to coveraion rates – mazepins seat might go from costing 10s of millions to hundreds of millions for dear daddy.

      I dont know why people think politics and sports should separate. Sports don’t exist in a vacumn. We race as one. Black Mercedes. It seems disingenuous to promote some social issues but not others. I guess money gets prioritised every time an organisation thinks they can get away with weakly addressing or ignoring issues.

  6. Usual spineless FIA reaction, a lot of other sports are saying they will not partake in events if any Russians are there, now is the time for other drivers to ‘put your money where there mouth is’…

    1. Indeed, it sounds very much like the super brave decision of the IOC to allow “Olympic athletes from Russia” to take part to the Olympics in spite of the ban.

      1. @palindnilap Yeah, because that worked so well in the Olympics.

  7. Driver change is certainly still possible, depending on the sponsorship money situation. We’ll see.

  8. Interesting. The collapse of Russian currency basically put him out anyway.

    Would’ve prefer to allow them only to drive if they speak out against the war, then we would see who really wants to race.

  9. I’m a bit on the fence with this, the more I think about it the more I think it’s the right decision even though I don’t like Mazapin.

    Russian sports teams have been banned but have football teams outside of Russia banned their Russian players? I don’t think so?

    Athletics whilst often an individual sport is done in a nationalistic way with medals grouped based on nationality.

    I think tennis or golf is the best comparison and I’ve not seen those banning Russian players.

    1. I am really watching to see what happens in tennis. The impact would be greater there than kicking Mazepin out.
      You’ve got the current world no. 1, Medvedev, you’ve got Rublev – they all came out with their messages for peace.

      On the one hand, perhaps it’s just too dangerous for them to say the truth – that Putin is a criminal and this is not their war – even if that’s how they feel.

      On the other hand, saying you are “for peace” can mean something else entirely. The average Russian who only has access to Russian propaganda probably thinks the Ukrainians have been comitting genocide and Putin is the savior of all humanity. So “peace” for them could be Ukrainians laying down their weapons (and letting tanks roll over them.)

      Just imagine how Russian propaganda is spinning Medvedev’s peace message. Also imagine how it is already spinning Russian athletes’ bans.

    2. Coventry Climax
      1st March 2022, 22:42

      Actually, they have banned russian players, and in all sorts of sports and around the world.
      Also multiple orchestras around the world have sent their russian ‘maestro’s’ home.
      Will it make a difference? is the question I hear a lot, with the implied ‘no’ being the excuse enough to then do nothing at all.
      First of all, it’s a silly question to ask, when there’s there’s a matter of principle or moral obligation involved.
      Secondly, you can’t feed the people of a country on one grain of rice, but if every citizen of this world would donate one grain, that would amount to a hell of a lot of food.

      Can’t say I’m disappointed with the FIA, as it is the exact weak response I expected.
      Oh, and can anybody explain to me what’s ‘extraordinary’ about the governing body meeting up to discuss an urgent, serious issue? Call the meeting extraordinary, the outcome is below mediocre, as usual.

  10. Would the case been different if Mazepin would be in a front running car?

    1. Like tennis? Medvedev just got to number 1. This is being celebrated in tennis as he has overtaken Djokovic and only the 5th man in 18 years to be world number 1.

  11. I don’t get it. Fia should not be doing politics.

    1. Coventry Climax
      1st March 2022, 22:48

      It’s a dream that sports has nothing to do with politics.
      Roman writer Juvenalis, 60-140 AD had already figured that out: Bread and Games.

    2. Imagine think the invasion of a country and the slaughter of its civilians is mere *politics*. This isn’t politics, it’s ethics.

      1. It’s ethical banning someone because he’s born Russian? That’s chauvinism, that’s almost nazism. This world is going insane in so many ways.

        1. No, not letting someone drive a car in a circle is not “almost nazism.”

        2. petebaldwin (@)
          2nd March 2022, 0:04

          Yeah – discussing whether drivers from a certain nationality signals the world going insane. Even Hitler wouldn’t have done that!

          The invasion of a country with thousands of innocent people losing their lives? Yeah that’s fine. Whatever… But discussing whether to stop people from driving cars fast? That’s the definition of insanity right there!

        3. Agree with dean, that’s nazism and don’t want to see that, especially with how adamant f1 has been in fighting against racism.

        4. Lol, you need to get a better perspective.

          It’s not racism or chauvinism or nazism or discrimination. It’s a direct consequence of the actions of the Russian government. Why should Russians lives be unaffected by what their government is doing in Ukraine? The more pain felt by individual Russians, the more likely there will be change in Moscow.

  12. Everybody is a political expert now…
    FIA should stay out of world politics. There are enough big problems in its jurisdiction that even cause racers to lose their championships. It should just stay out of this and worry about racing. It should not be limiting people to do sports.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      2nd March 2022, 0:09

      As others have said above – war is not “politics.” It goes way beyond politics. No-one should “stay out of it” when it comes to innocent people losing their lives. If the FIA can do something positive to help, they should as should everyone else.

      As it stands, I think they’ve got it about right with what they’ve put in place. I don’t like the idea of Mazepin racing because of the close links to Putin but ultimately, he’s more of a humiliation for Russia than something to celebrate. The others don’t have a reason to be banned.

  13. This seems reasonable. Ban Russia, not Russians is a fair response.

    1. @glynh Why shouldn’t individual Russians feel some pain as a consequence of their government’s actions in Ukraine?

      The FIA has failed miserably again, just like their weak dropping of the Russian GP “in the current circumstances”.

      1. @scbriml Because they can’t help where they’re born and don’t necessarily support Putin. You shouldn’t be punished for your nationality unless you’re using it to harm others.

        1. @glynh If ordinary and elite Russians don’t feel any pain as a consequence of their government’s actions, then there will be no internal pressure on Putin at all.

          I’m sorry, but there needs to be pain all round. And that includes all of us standing on the sidelines, however that manifests itself (certainly even higher fuel costs).

          The specific pain of Russian drivers being banned by Motorsport UK seems irrelevant when compared to what Ukrainians are having to endure right now.

  14. This world is in a huge mess and I don’t trust all these politicians in suits to solve it. Humanity is at its worst and it started long before Ukraine.

  15. Banning individual sportspeople does little to change the government’s objectives. Isolating a country from the rest of the world by stopping sporting teams from representing the country. Restricting its income to cripple the economy and limiting its ability to re-arm are the best options I think.
    WW2 resulted in between 60-85 million deaths, over half of those were civilians. I think some people need to think about that.

    1. Thats one recipe for genocide.

    2. Not to mention this war will probably displace 1 million Ukrainians by the end of this week.

      1. Coventry Climax
        1st March 2022, 22:52

        Which is a disgusting yet modern, popular type of warfare by destabilizing the receiving countries.

        1. Poor receiving countries…

  16. So if Mazepin wins a race, they won’t play the Russian national anthem?

    1. Unless Vlad had the rest of the field taken out, which isn’t completely outside the realm of possibility, I think it’s safe to say there’s not a problem likely to occur.

      1. thatsthejoke.jpg

    2. Indeed, what anthem will they play in that case?

  17. Paul (@frankjaeger)
    1st March 2022, 22:27

    It’s not fair that Russian athletes get penalised, no, but then again, life isn’t fair.

    1. @frankjaeger It seems perfectly fair to me. Ask Ukrainians if having thermobaric missiles fired at them is fair.

  18. The way things are going will it soon be impossible for any Russian sports person to get a Visa to travel between foreign counties?

    1. I would think top athletes living in Monaco would have European residence cards which allow them to travel around. But if you are banning people with Russian passports alltogether then yes, it would be a problem.

  19. FIA Shame on you!!!

  20. I think this shows that MBS has a long way to go, if he is to live up to his reputation as a radical and a reformer. The WMSC has taken the most conservative of all the options that were realistically available to them.

    1. Coventry Climax
      1st March 2022, 22:55

      realistically? I have a problem with that word in this context.
      For the rest your right.

    2. @red-andy
      It worth to mention that MBS – who made it to the FIA presidency thanks to his mainly to his nationality – will have a position aligned with his country’s position from the War in Ukraine. The UAE have refrained from directly condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This unacceptable since the FIA is an independent organization blablabla… but things in the real world don’t work like that.

      Yesterday, The UAE has suspended its visa-free regime with Ukraine that allowed Ukrainian citizens to stay in the country for up to 30 days without the need for a visa.

    3. He gave up the chance to be seen a a reformer when he had a journalist murdered, cut into pieces, and smuggled out of a foreign country. He will only be seen as a violent, murderous pig regardless of what he does in the future.

      1. Oh the other MBS. That makes more sense. We knew he would be weak when it comes to morality based on his background. We were told this was a racist viewpoint. It is unfolding

  21. All people and all organizations can be expected for a clear statement that war cannot be a solution and is not acceptable.

  22. If Mazepin was truly against the Ukraine invasion, he would voluntarily step down from F1 as a show of support for Ukraine, and to send a very public message to Putin that Russian citizens are against the war. Vey few other Russians have the media platform the Mazepin has. He either uses if good, or we judge him accordingly.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      2nd March 2022, 0:13

      Sure but we have to remember he’s a 23 year old kid… If he was to speak out against the war, it would cause major problems for his family. It’d be great it he used his platform for good but unlike people like Vettel or Hamilton, if Mazepin spoke up, the platform you mention would disappear instantly and we wouldn’t hear from him again.

      1. @frankjaeger Even more so because his dad is great pals with Vlad the Destroyer.

        But that’s also part of the problem. Mazepin still proudly shows a photo on his instagram feed of him meeting Putin.

  23. RandomMallard
    1st March 2022, 23:09

    Personally I feel like this is a good compromise. Banning the representation of the country, but not the athletes, seems like the best option. It seems to be a position quite a few other sporting bodies have taken as well: FIFA aren’t banning all Russian players from playing elsewhere, and Russian tennis players can still compete under a neutral flag, as can Russian cyclists and swimmers.

    So what does this mean? Mazepin can stay, as can other drivers in other categories (Kvyat in WEC, Shwartzman if he ever gets a seat anywhere this year). Haas can still compete, but I think the removal of “national colours” very much suggests the red, blue and white cannot return.

    This is, of course, dependent on the financial situation and Haas with regards to funding from Mazepin. But that’s not really for the FIA to police I don’t think.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      2nd March 2022, 0:17

      It’s up to Haas what to do with Mazepin. They’ll need a new sponsor pretty quickly and it’s unlikely to be a Russian one as their economy has tanked and will continue to go downhill as long as they are at war. Will any potential new sponsor be happy to have Mazepin promoting their brand? Imagine the reaction to him from the fans if he shows up at a European race! I think he’ll be replaced by Fittipaldi fairly soon.

      1. It will be a $ call for sure, as others have alluded most of the funds for this year are likely not in the bank. Even if the funds were in the bank for the season, Gene Haas might pay it back to be seen as clean. He has an international reputation to uphold for his company.

        Personally, I see the scales tipping in favor of another driver who may/may not come with $ i.e. Antonio G.

  24. Weak decision by the FIA whose president comes from a country which refuses to condemn the barbaric invasion of a neighbouring country and supports the aggressor with agreements on maintaining the international oil market.

  25. If you want to take a position against unfair actions of a country, then you should restrict them to act with respect to your authority. FIA cannot stand against Russia with its war machines, but with its authority on sports persons of Russia.

    Totally disagree to let Russian sports persons to be allowed attending global competitions. Even if its not their desicion to attack Ukraine, they need to be effected because of the “elected” ones’ decisions. War is something between countries, not presidents.

    1. I bet you have never lived under a repressive regime.

  26. I think the FIA were realistic in their approach. Banning athletes and blaming them for the actions of their maniacal President is unfair. Good that they did not bar Russian athletes for hideous actions by their government over which they have no control.

  27. Regardless I suspect Haas will announce they are dumping Mazepin this week. No money no vroom vroom

Comments are closed.