Nikita Mazepin, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

FIA bans Russian competitors from expressing support for invasion of Ukraine

2022 Formula 1 Season

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The FIA has published new details of the commitment which Russian and Belarusian competitors must uphold in order to participate in events as neutrals.

Following the World Motor Sport Council meeting on 28th February and subsequent decisions by individual countries’ motorsport federations to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing, the FIA has issued an agreement to be signed by any Russian or Belarusian competitors.

The ‘Driver Commitment’ states, among other points, that they will forfeit their right to competition if they express support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It also enforces the FIA’s decisions prohibiting the use of imagery related to the national flags and colours of the two countries.

The agreement, which calls on all Russian and Belarusian competitors to sign it, has the following conditions:

1. I will comply with the decisions of the World Motor Sport Council of 1 March 2022. I understand that any refusal or failure to comply with those decisions will constitute a breach of Article 12.2.1.e of the FIA International Sporting Code, and may result in the imposition of a penalty or sanction under the International Sporting Code, the FIA Statutes, the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules, and/or under any other applicable provision of the FIA rules and regulations.

2. I acknowledge the strong commitment made by the FIA to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, the Federation Automobile d’Ukraine, and all of those suffering as a result of the ongoing conflict.

3. I acknowledge that I may only participate in Covered Events in an individual and neutral capacity, and not in any way as a representative of Russia or Belarus.

4. I will not display any Russian/Belarusian national symbols, colours, or flags publicly or via social media.

5. I will not display on my uniforms, clothing, accessories, or other personal items, or on my equipment or cars at any time in connection with my participation in Covered Events or otherwise in my capacity as a participant in Covered Events:
× the Russian or Belarusian flag (current or historical);
× any illustration of or reference to the Russian or Belarusian flag;
× any national emblem or other national symbol of Russia/Belarus (e.g. coat of arms of Russia /double-headed eagle of Russia);
× the words “Russian”, “Russia”, “Belarus”, “Belarusian”, “Russian Automobile Federation”, “Fédération de l’Automobile de Belarus” or the acronyms “RUS” or “RAF” or “BAF”, “FBA”, “BLR” in any language or format; or
× the emblem of the Russian Automobile Federation (“RAF”) or “Fédérationde l’Automobile de Belarus” (“FBA”/”BAF”).

6. I acknowledge that no Russian/Belarusian national anthems will be played at Covered Events. I will not play or sing the Russian/Belarusian national anthem at any official event venue or other area controlled by the FIA or by the organiser or promoter of a Covered Event, or otherwise in connection with my participation in Covered Events or otherwise in my capacity as a participant in Covered Events.

7. I will not make any statements or comments, take any actions, or conduct myself in a manner that is prejudicial to the interests of the FIA, any Competition, and/or motorsport generally. In particular, I will not express any support (direct or indirect) for the Russian and/or Belarusian activities in respect of Ukraine.

8. I will comply at all times with:
a. all FIA rules and regulations, circulars, guidelines, procedures, and other requirements, as amended from time to time;
b. all decisions, rulings, and directions of the FIA; and
c. any applicable sanctions regime.

9. I acknowledge and accept that the FIA may implement further measures or issue further decisions in relation to my participation in Covered Events in light of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, including the right to refuse me entry into or prevent me from participating in and/or attending any Covered Event. I will comply with any such further measures and decisions.

10. I have read and understood the contents of this Driver Commitment and I acknowledge that it is legally binding upon me.

This Driver Commitment (including any dispute, claim, or controversy arising out of or relating to it) will be exclusively governed by and construed in accordance with French law, subject to any conflict of law principles that would mandate the application of laws of another jurisdiction.
All disputes, claims, and controversies arising out of or relating to this Driver Commitment (1) will be fully and finally determined under and in accordance with the International Sporting Code and the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules; or (2) (if the matter in issue falls outside the scope of the International Sporting Code and the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules) will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Tribunal Judiciaire de Paris.

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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52 comments on “FIA bans Russian competitors from expressing support for invasion of Ukraine”

  1. I suppose this is a way around simply banning the competitors completely – give them the chance to toe the FIA line or ban themselves by not agreeing.

    1. Why would they even say that it’s be a shot in the foot.

      More to the point though does the west realise what it’s doing? A lot if this can very possibly create resentment and bitterness.. no good is going to come from all this. Putin is a mad man but Ukraine and the west are not entirely blameless either. They had years and now they act surprised

  2. I mean, anyone stupid enough to declare support would find themselves dropped by their team quicker than a hot jacket potato anyways, so kinda goes without saying.

    1. But this allows them to drop them legally!
      No issues with existing contracts/etc.

  3. Maybe the west can be a bit more clever in this conflict by discriminating institutions from individuals. No need to disadvantage individual Russian people. After all we share the same challenge which is their government. The last thing we want to achieve is the Russian people getting upset with us as our measures impact their lives. The idea of starting some internal revolution by upsetting them is in practice not so easy given the regime in place and the risk they will need to take. Supporting them might be a better route. Sports could play that connecting role.

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      4th March 2022, 11:55

      Also, Mazepin could refuse to drive in protest against the invasion of Ukraine.

      1. Mazepin could also express support for Ukraine and for the overthrow of Putin by finishing last in races.

        *surprised pikachu*

      2. Sure, and you could also quit your job to protest the same way. I know, he doesn’t earn money this way, but that’s his only profession and you suggest he should give up on his calling. Life is only one, why should one throw it away for a few headlines? People find it so easy when they talk about others. 99,99% people with smart remarks and moralistic approach didn’t and won’t do a thing that will help Ukrainian people. He can do something if he likes, but that’s NOT his obligation. He’s got rights. And I won’t say “even” he’s got rights. He’s not at fault at all, he’s innocent in all this as you, me or any German, French, Brazilian or Rwandan. People should begin to understand that before going on a witch hunt against people based on their nationality, race or something else. That used to be against the law…

    2. Sports could play that connecting role.

      If you feel the need to connect with Mr Putin’s Russia, please be aware of what kind of contact he prefers.

    3. I’m afraid if the average Russian isn’t disadvantaged by the consequences of Putin’s madness, then nothing will change. Why should they continue to live ‘normal lives’ with no impact while the Russian military is killing innocent Ukrainians?

      1. I do see a real risk of the west pushing the Russian people so hard that the people actually start having anti west sentiments instead of anti Putin.

        This could potentially lead to an escalating conflict involving more than just the Ukraine. The west aren’t being particularly smart imho and need to be more aware of pushing Russia into the arms of China.

        1. This. I see nothing but failed leadership from our side as well. What is wrong with politicians? Seriously, how stupid can a collective of people be? Never read any history book, that’s for sure.

          1. greasemonkey
            5th March 2022, 15:23

            Not just politicians. Head of companies/organizations are do a lot of this as virtue signaling, to boost brand, rather than doing it on any sort of well thought out principle.

  4. This is sad, over regulating people so they can’t speak their mind is awful. The worst part is you’ll never know who the bad people are, they will be hidden amongst bland corporate statements and empty meaningless rhetoric. Only when people are free to express themselves can you determine who they are.

    You need to give people enough rope, so they can hang themselves, that’s how we determine who to avoid and protect ourselves from them, without that ability, they are hidden and it’s hard to figure them out.

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      4th March 2022, 11:58

      Mazepin can drop out in protest. He’s free to drop out and tell if he is dropping to protest against the invasion of Ukraine… or to protest against FIA forbidding him to support the special military operation.

      It’s not like we’re going to bomb him or jail him.

      1. He won’t do that, he’s too busy posting images of himself and his Dad with Putin on Instagram.

      2. It’s not like we’re going to bomb him or jail him.

        I’m not completely confident we can predict what ‘we’ will or won’t do, things change, but I’m confident if he drops out his entire (uncompetitive as it is) F1 career is done and dusted, he’ll forever be a pariah in elite motorsport and he’ll be used for propaganda by multiple agencies on all sides of politics.

        But this isn’t just about Russian drivers, this is about all drivers being told what can and can’t be expressed, what views they share. It’s a hideous concept.

    2. @jasonj I agree, though I don’t think supporting the Russia invasion is necessarily indication of someone ‘bad’ (though I’m vehemently opposed), they may just be misguided, misinformed.

      I suppose FIA has tried to ban ‘political’ remarks by drivers in general in the past too. However it’s a bad look for the west to talk about democratic liberal values and then prevent free speech. I’d rather the drivers were banned from competing but allowed to say what they think, perverse as that may sound. Bans on participation ‘cut through’ Russian state propaganda because Putin’s regime can’t pretend they don’t exist. It’s a collective action not individual. Similarly, I’m against banning the free movement of Russian people while supporting the ban on air flights to Russia (save for repatriation). None of this is good. But we were close to a second and much more devastating Chernobyl nuclear accident last night. Since military intervention is out of the question, the options can only be sanctions in diverse forms to push for a negotiated ceasefire and Russian troop withdrawal.

      1. @david-br

        …. I don’t think supporting the Russia invasion is necessarily indication of someone ‘bad’….

        I agree, I was more referring to censorship and views in general, not specifically this invasion. If we keep closing views on sensitive, controversial subjects, we box people in tighter and tighter until everyone expresses homogeneous, sanctioned, non-contentious views to appease everyone. We need forthright individual speech to jerk blind followers out of their comfort zone, that’s how progress happens, it’s also how we realise ‘bad’ actors.

        I’m also against the Russian invasion, but I back the right to uninhibited speech and expression of ideas, even if I’m opposed to them. So far I haven’t seen any of these drivers spouting anything abhorrent, so the FIA proactively threatening them will only shade their views either way, which sucks.

  5. These rules cannot keep a motivated supporter of the Russian invasion of Ukraine from expressing their position at least once.

    A simple ban would.

  6. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    4th March 2022, 12:00

    I for one am disgusted with the leadership at Haas F1 starting at the top with Gene Haas and Steiner. You have an oligarchs son, Putin’s friend, still occupying a seat on that team! Are they seriously considering taking him to Bahrain or are they untangling a legal contract before they drop him?

    1. @canadianjosh Possibly the latter.

    2. Josh (a different one)
      4th March 2022, 12:06

      Are they seriously considering taking him to Bahrain or are they untangling a legal contract before they drop him?

      Maybe you’d be less disgusted if you actually read LITERALLY any F1 website where all the information is there for you friend.

    3. petebaldwin (@)
      4th March 2022, 12:52

      @canadianjosh Mazepin won’t race for Haas this year. It’s already being reported by lots of websites that he’s out but I think Haas are just waiting on announcing it to be able to confirm their replacement. Some are reporting it’ll be Fittipaldi but others are suggesting Giovinazzi might return to F1.

    4. Completely agree! I hope we ban these filthy Russian athletes as fast as possible so we can go back to enjoy cars going in circles in peaceful democracies like Bahreïn, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi !

      1. Um Bahrain is a democracy. Specifically a constitutional monarchy. You know like the United Kingdom?

      2. @paeschli Mate that’s a disgusting racist attitude to express. So all Russian athletes are “filthy”? Racism is hating a person for their ethnicity, country of origin etc and not judging and accessing the individual on what they say, act and stand for. You are indeed a racist and your attitude stinks.

        1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
          5th March 2022, 0:30

          His sarcasm went straight over your head, probably would be able to fly a 747 over your head.

          1. I’d hope you could fly a 747 over EVERYBODY’S head! Something pretty wrong if you couldn’t! If that was sarcasm it was a terrible attempt.

  7. Completely redundant – No driver would have a team or sponsor long enough for the FIA to take any action anyway.

    1. Nikita Dmitryevich had a seat long enough to complete a full season of Formula 1 in a car painted to resemble the banned flag of his home country.

      And we’re still waiting for the FIA to act on that.

  8. Too little, too late. FIA’s standard operating mode.

  9. Dear journalists, please, PLEASE, stop mixing Belarus with Russia and even belarusian people with Lukashenko. I’m Belarusian. Have you all forgotten how Belarusians were fighting against Lukashenka in 2020? We were aware of his madness back then. We were screeming for the world to hear us. Many belarusians are in prison, some lost their lifes (Roman Bondarenko, Gennadij Shutov and many others) because of that. And now you are blaming us. We, belarusians, are not Lukashenko. I’m not talking about Lukashenko’s atheletes here (they were always just puppets in the hands of the regime). I’m talking about people here, us – belarusians who are still agaist the regime, who are trying to help ukranians anyway we can. It really hurts to read and to hear those things. Don’t put the blame on us, because we will not bear the blame for what the regime did. We are fighting against it. And we are fighting under our historical flag (white-red-white), that’s why regime hates it. So to ban this flag now means tha you are supporting Lukashenka. I’m writing it with a small hope that someone will read it and stop just to think about it and maybe will try to find some information about Belarus of 2020 (August 8th). Thank you.

    1. I’m no expert on Belarus but I believe the country has pretty warm relations with Russia and has allowed Russian tanks and military personnel to be stationed along the Belarus-Ukraine border.
      I haven’t followed the whole affair closely enough to know if the Russian army has actually invaded Ukraine through the Belarus border, but I’m not surprised Belarus is being sanctioned as well.

      1. Well, that’s why I was asking people to read something about Belarus 2020. Because those of us, who were and still are against the regime of Lukashenka have been asking for sunctions since 2020. We are all for those sunctions so that these so-called “leaders” will lose their money bags. We want to overthrow the regime. Belarusians and Lukashenka are not the same, just like Russia and putin is not the same (though I think putin has more support in Russia).

    2. In a way Belarus is where Ukraine will be if Putin achieves his aim. It’s indeed painful to imagine what is must be like to be living under Lukashenka’s regime following the disputed (rigged) 2020 elections. Putin seems to enjoy broader support in Russia, despite the clear lack of real democracy in the country. I agree this needs to be taken into account by western policy in response to Russia’s invasion and the assistance given by Belarus’s president and armed forces.

      1. @david-br you are totally right. And unfortunately Belarus is occupide by Russia. I don’t think lukashenka has much say in anything right now. He does what putin sais, thinking that he will survive. And those dectatores never ask about people’s opinion. But off cource I don’t have illusions and there sertanly are people supporting them. Just not all of us.
        Unfortunately, many were imprisoned, some were killed, many had to leave the country…

  10. Extreme trolling from deepest Milton Keynes!

  11. Any why doesn’t it have a Report Comment button?

    1. Why would you report that? It’s 100% true and was expressed in a heartfelt and diligent manner.

      1. ‘Julia’ is obviously not Belarusian lol. It’s probably the same person as ‘Patrick’, and since you mysteriously know it’s 100% true, you as well. All part of why this comment section is so much less than it could be if @keithcollantine would decide to make it honest.

        1. And how did you come to that conclusion, lol? It’s really interesting how some think that their opponent is not real just because their opinion is different. You obviosly don’t know belarusians.

      2. DeanR +1
        @zann ? Why on earth would they be the same person?

    2. Ah, there’s no Report button as it’s already been checked and passed by mods. Lol.

  12. «  i order you to be neutral because we are not neutral »
    Paroxysm of logic.

  13. Bad fia, the deal is not neutral at all. There are a few lines that mustn’t be there. Participants are going to discriminate against Russia and Belarus. There isn’t a right side, only 2 wrong ones.

    1. @peartree this would be the same Russian military forces which deliberately targeted a Holocaust memorial site within Ukranian territory and decided it was a good idea to launch an artillery strike on a nuclear power station?

  14. I get what they’re trying to do and i don’t like what’s going on in Ukraine at all, but censorship on that level just creeps me out. If your point of view is correct and strong enough, it will withstand criticism and opposing points of view so censorship is unnecessary. If your views are not strong enough to stand up on their own and censorship is necessary, you need to rethink things. The other thing is that i like to know who i’m really dealing with. Forcing them to hide their true opinions doesn’t change anything and before you know it, you’re dealing with someone you wish you hadn’t.

  15. Mazepin won’t keep to that…He is the sort of person to express his feeling’s…So as far i’m concerned it will be a waste of time…

  16. I’ve always thought freedom of speech is over-rated anyways. So… what exactly do the FIA think is the risk of letting people expressing an opinion? If I hear a driver support the Russian invasion, I’m going to suddenly change my mind? Is their opinion of their fans that low? I figure if the drivers can’t express their opinion on the matter because it may reflect in a certain way on the sport, the sport should refrain from expressing their opinion also, because it may reflect in a certain way on the individual drivers. Fair is fair. Besides, where was all the pompous self-righteousness when it came to having races in the Middle East and China, with their records of human rights violations? Car racing should stick to what it knows. Racing. If I want an opinion on world events, I’ll look to someone with an opinion that is valuable.

  17. Sergey Martyn
    5th March 2022, 7:35

    Barrymore, who howls in the swamp?

    All this Russian bashing (the exclusion of Russian students from western universities, banning Russian tourists to visit restaurants and the pogroms in shops selling Russian goods – just imagine – in Berlin…) reminds me the dehumanization of Jews in the Third Reich. And the icing on that Third Reich cake was England’s sanctions against Germany, but the only persons who suffered from them were the rich Jews who fled to the UK, but their bank accounts were blocked and confiscated.
    We applause the sanctions against our oligarchs but blocking some Apple and Google functions, stopping physical mail, transactions, int’l flights etc. have the very opposite effect.
    I don’t even mention the “freedom of speech” – last time I experienced this was Cold War era when shortwave broadcasts of Voice of America, Radio Freedom etc. were jammed with radio interference on USSR territory.

  18. Haas announced Mazepin contract terminated anyway

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