Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Sochi Autodrom, 2021

Formula 1 terminates Russian Grand Prix contract

2022 F1 season

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Formula 1 will no longer race in Russia after Formula One Management (FOM) terminated its contract with the race’s promoters.

The Russian Grand Prix had been held at the Sochi Autodrome – around the site of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games – since 2014. Last year, Formula 1 announced that the Russian Grand Prix would move from Sochi to a permanent circuit at Igora Drive near St Petersburg from the 2023 season on a multi-year contract.

However the series confirmed today its contract with race promoter Rosgonki has been cancelled.

The decision comes after further discussions were held this week about the future of the Russian Grand Prix after FOM announced that this year’s race at Sochi would not be held. In a statement, Formula 1 confirmed that it had “terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix promoter, meaning Russia will not have a race in the future.”

It is the latest in a series of actions taken following the Russian military invasion of Ukraine last week, which has been condemned internationally. Heavy sanctions have been placed on the Russian Federation by the United States, United Kingdom and European Union, with multiple national governments forbidding citizens and companies in their countries from doing business with Russian-owned businesses.

Earlier this week the FIA placed restrictions on international motorsport events being held in Russia and stated the country’s racers would only be allowed to participate as neutrals. However yesterday the governing body of motorsport in Britain, Motorsport UK, took a further step by banning Russian competition licence holders from taking part in races in the UK.

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali recently revealed that FOM should have “no problem at all” in arranging a replacement race for the Russian round originally scheduled for September 25th this year. This year’s calendar was originally planned to feature 23 grands prix, the most of any Formula 1 season.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 59 comments on “Formula 1 terminates Russian Grand Prix contract”

    1. Unsurprising. Coincidently, I had thought about next year’s planned Igora debut not happening, but only about getting postponed by a season rather than not happening at all (or very least for the foreseeable future).

      1. Ending the contract in its entirety is probably about relieving Liberty of the yearly discussion about holding an untenable GP as well as giving them freedom to plan for another race to take its place on the calendar.

        1. They can always move the race to St. Petersburg.

          You see I’ve got a ‘point’ ;)

    2. Slava Ukraini!

      Sports should be outside of politics, but this atrocity is something we haven’t seen since WW2 and i think it’s appropriate reaction from F1.

      1. I don’t mean to diminish at all the horror of what is unfolding in the Ukraine but how about Korea, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and so on…

        So glad F1 will not be racing in Russia.

        1. José Lopes da Silva
          4th March 2022, 12:21

          Korea?

    3. I’m surprised at this, I had assumed they’d try and race there next season.

      Good decision!

    4. Let’s fill the gap with another race in Jeddah. As the title “Saudi Arabian GP” is already taken, they have the chance to call it “Human Rights Grand Prix”.

      1. In the tradition of naming Grands Prix after neighbouring countries (e.g. the Swiss, San Marino and Luxembourg GPs), we could call it the Yemen Grand Prix. I’m sure that would be fine.

        1. someone or something
          3rd March 2022, 14:04

          They could hold a race in Kiev and call that one the Russian Grand Prix. 😬

        2. Lets have a major sporting tournament in Qatar and the end of the year instead.

      2. I understand your sentiment and wish there were no races in Saudi Arabia or other countries with similar track record of human rights violation. However, you can’t compare human right violations and war, that is against totally innocent country, with intentions of occupation.

      3. No one is bothered with what the Saudi’s and their allies are doing to the Yemeni people.

        1. What about what Iran is doing to the Yemeni people? There are two sides in that conflict, On one side is Iran, the other Saudi. The Yemeni people are in the middle. However only one country started the war there and that was Iran.

          I must stress that I am not supporting Saudi tactics etc but please do not think that it is a conflict between simply Saudi Arabia and an innocent Yemen. It is a civil war that was stoked by Iran.

          1. Is there a grand prix in Iran? Would be nice to get rid of Bahrain, China and Saudi races, but that won’t happen.

          2. This is peak whataboutism. To follow your train of thought, Putin is waging war against neo-nazis, so he can’t be that bad.

      4. That’s a fitting name!

      5. Yes, let’s only take actions that are 100% free of any hypocrisy. – signed A. Genius

    5. Well this is a result of the American ownership of the sport.
      I can’t say I agree with it or not, but it shows how a strong domestic political atmosphere and infilterate sports and businesses.
      F1 is now lost though the races may still continue.

      1. If you want your race back, do something about the person who leads your country.

      2. How deluded do you have to be to think F1 needs Russia. Leaving behind a country run by a complete power hungry lunatic and one of the worst circuits in history doesn’t mean “F1 is now lost”. If anything this is a positive move which I doubt would have happened in the Bernie days.

        Advances in social media, Drive to Survive, new regulations, huge audiences for the final. I’d say F1 is in the best shape it’s been in for many a year.

        The only thing lost right now is Russia.

      3. The Russian F1 race was a Putin Propaganda tool. He had the Sochi track built to promote his greatness at the time of the Olympics. Sochi is also a place he regularly stays and he has an enormous mansion there with its own ice hockey rink! (Given he was just a KGB agent before becoming President, I wonder where he might have got all the money to build one of the biggest private houses on earth?).

        St Petersburg is Putins home city. I wonder why it was chosen to host the race after Sochi?

        F1 does not need Russia, Putin however seemingly desired F1 very strongly as it gave him international legitimacy.

        1. Putler max be the richest person in the world and he got it all from stealing from the Russian people. Teachers earn around $500/mo but he has around $200B in the bank. Unless it’s in Rubles then maybe much less now.

          1. Oh, he’s way too shrewd to hold his assets in rubles.

      4. Coventry Climax
        3rd March 2022, 13:44

        There’s a million people, with that number rising quickly, that have literally nothing left, no home, no job, no car, no family, no future and you’re concerned about your weekly sunday pastime?

        There’s no words for how disconnected your comment (and from too many others here) is.

        1. +1 or even more

      5. No. It’s a result of Russia’s dictator invading a sovereign country to expand empire. Cancelling the Russian GP is a logical response to that.

        Get used to it because Putler has made Russia the civilized world’s #1 enemy and no one will want anything to do with them until he is gone (removed, dead, in prison) and Russia has made amends. No more F1 is one of the slightest results of Russias war on Ukraine.

    6. Will race promoters receive compensation for a unilateral contract break? Or maybe there were some clauses for this kind of circumstances?

      1. War is considered force majeure iirc, F1 owes Russia nothing for breaking contract due to war

      2. As @xenn1 mentions, there are always clauses for this kind of stuff @mc4ren. It is also well possible that with the current sanctions (also likely to have been a clause in the contract) it means the operator would not be able to pay in time (up front), which no doubt is another reason for terminating the contract.

    7. Maybe the organisers can send their bank details with SWIFT code for the compensation payment.

      1. jff,
        They could still take note from Iran who has been cut off from SWIFT prior to Russia or North Korea and rely in cryptocurrency to settle payment. North Korea continued to fund their missile programmes through millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency stolen by cyber-attacks. In 2014, Russia created their own version of SWIFT, SPFS and cut the subscription fees to half just to encourage more financial institutions to use the platform.

        From what I know, SWIFT is not the only messaging system for financial transactions. There are already reliable alternatives available on the market. FIX protocol is one of them and it is very popular in the USA and South America. Sanctions can slow the Russian economy but they are not the proper way to end this war. The USA, UK and EU have to do more to stop the aggression on Ukraine.

    8. Given Putin’s love for the F1 and hosting a race in Russia, this was a clear message that F1 isn’t coming back for a long time. I would guess it is going to take a decade of favorable behavior before F1 would consider going back to Russia.

    9. A Ukrainian GP would be an epic middle finger to give wouldn’t it :)

      1. One day – I hope so @nullapax

        1. Lol that would be amazing.

      2. RandomMallard
        3rd March 2022, 19:36

        +1

      3. True!

    10. Never thought that F1 was going to stand out for its integrity. Speechless … bravo !!!

    11. Would be great if they could return to Portimao. The new cars racing there should make it for a much better race than last year, but I guess this is just wishfull thinking.

    12. Good. Would love to see it replaced switch someone new and different for F1. How about an Edinburgh Grand Prix please!

      1. @davidhunter13 I’m not sure the new suspension systems were designed for cobblestones :)

        1. Haha I hadn’t even thought of that. Oh well.

        2. or slippery tram lines.

    13. No one knows what is really going on, yet the whole world has decided it’s an expert on the issue. As always.

      1. Oh we are sorry @danmar – hadn’t you heard?

        Russia has invaded Ukraine and quite a few people consider this to be wrong.

        That is what is going on.

      2. ady (@sixwheeler)
        3rd March 2022, 16:22

        You can excuse any form of tyranny by saying nobody knows what is really going on, nobody knows the real truth of what happened, don’t believe anything you hear etc.

      3. Please let us in on what possible explanation of events that could excuse the documented atrocities taking place? You don’t need to be an *expert* to recognize crimes against humanity. And the fact that other crimes against humanity are being committed at other places on the planet doesn’t excuse the invasion of Ukraine or mean that no action should be taken.

    14. Do Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi next! Or does sport washing not matter when brown people are the ones dying?

      1. But first Azerbaijan and China! Also Qatar.

        And don’t forget to dump Aramco. Disgusting source of income.

      2. Please. Don’t forget China and Bahrain.

    15. RandomMallard
      3rd March 2022, 19:46

      Pleasantly surprised by this step to be honest. Still a fair way to go, but a good start. In terms of replacing it, it is very much a difficult situation.

      The race, if there is to be a replacement, must be held on the 25th September. There is the Bel-Ned-Ita triple header before hand, so a fourth race is out of the question I think. It would therefore be alongside Singapore – the date of which is itself unlikely to be flexible given it’s a street race – which is itself followed by Japan. As these are both flyaway races, I don’t think they can partner a European race with them (someone said on here about not being able to put road-travel races with flyaway races for logistical reasons. I’m really sorry but can’t remember who said it). If that is indeed the case, that rules out Portimao. I don’t know whether Turkey is counted as a flyaway or not, so that may be an option. If not, I could only think of another race in that area of the world, with the most likely contender probably being China. However, I for one would love to see Malaysia back on the calendar, and I don’t think Fuji would be awful either if we’re in that region, and actually isn’t India (or maybe Korea, I can’t remember) hosting FIA motorsport for the first time since F1 left? It’s be a long shot but I’d love to see it personally.

    16. Nell (@imabouttogoham)
      4th March 2022, 0:00

      Good. It was a boring track saved by rain last year.

      1. This year was going to be the last a Sochi.

      2. Let’s say the russian gp ended on a high then.

    17. At this point, I don’t think Putin gives a monkies.

      The only good that could come from this is if the Russian citizens understand why this happened and somehow vote him out. But sine we are talking about Putin, he ain’t going anywhere anytime soon.

    18. A good and slightly surprising decision by F1. For once they have done the right thing.

    19. Kimberley Barrass
      4th March 2022, 11:26

      Does this mean we can get rid of the jingo-istic National Anthem and dignitaries at the start of the race now? – This was introduced as a clause in the original Russian contract – something that no one else had – which was quickly normalised by doing it everywhere.

      I can’t stand it. – It was always about sportswashing with Russia, and I’m sure a lot of other countries we go to jumped on board for geo-political reasons. This is right across the board – the US (and that dreadful – introducing the drivers rubbish they did once) as well as others.

      While I’m on a rant – When we go somewhere to race – I want to know the history of the circuit and how good it is – I couldn’t care less about which country it is in and wish we’d stop talking about it in our coverage generally.

      It’s why I know Le Mans, Bathurst, Laguna Seca, etc – despite the fact F1 doesn’t go there, and it’s why I love COTA (this looked like it was going to be good from when they were building the track – as it obviously was no tilke clone) and think Baku is pretty darn good as well.. Singapore has had a couple of good races too – but tends to be because of madness rather than the scintillating track.

      Sort it out F1!

    Comments are closed.