Russian driver Smolyar returns to race in FIA F3 as neutral driver

Formula 3

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Russian Formula 3 driver Alexander Smolyar has reversed his decision not to participate in the FIA series this year and entered as a neutral driver.

Smolyar announced last week he “will not compete in FIA F3 and any international racing series this year.” His decision followed the FIA’s reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

The governing body declared any Russian drivers participating in its series must do so as neutral competitors. They are also required to “sign a declaration committing to adhere to the FIA’s principles of peace and political neutrality.”

The FIA entry list for this weekend’s season-opening races in Bahrain shows Smolyar has entered as an Authorised Neutral Driver.

Smolyar’s confirmation completes the 30-strong F3 grid for 2022. Niko Kari took the last vacant spot on the grid, at Jenzer.

On the rest of the grid, returning race winner Arthur Leclerc and podium finisher Jak Crawford find themselves contending with hotly-tipped multiple-F4 series champion Oliver Bearman at Prema. Juan Manuel Correa continues his impressive return to motorsport at ART, alongside a very strong line-up of race winner Victor Martins and Formula Regional European champion Gregoire Saucy.

Hitech’s Isack Hadjar impressed during the Bahrain test several weeks ago, topping the second and third days’ times and setting the outright fastest lap of testing before running was curtailed by a sandstorm.

Like Formula 2, F3 is returning to a two-race weekend structure this year, having held three races per event in 2021. Although both F3 races are the same length, without a pit stop, nominally the Saturday race is a sprint and so will set the grid by reversing the top 12 from Friday’s qualifying session, with the Sunday race using the order from qualifying.

2022 Formula 3 field

Team Driver Driver Driver
Prema Oliver Bearman Arthur Leclerc Jak Crawford
Trident Jonny Edgar Zane Maloney Roman Stanek
ART Gregoire Saucy Juan Manuel Correa Victor Martins
Hitech Isack Hadjar Kaylen Frederick Nazim Azman
Van Amersfoort Reece Ushijima Rafael Villagomez Franco Colapinto
MP Caio Collet Kush Maini Alexander Smolyar
Campos Pepe Marti Hunter Yeany David Vidales
Carlin Zak O’Sullivan Brad Benevides Enzo Trulli
Jenzer Ido Cohen William Alatalo Niko Kari
Charouz Laszlo Toth Francesco Pizzi Ayrton Simmons

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This story has been amended to correct an error regarding Smolyar’s licence

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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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6 comments on “Russian driver Smolyar returns to race in FIA F3 as neutral driver”

  1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    17th March 2022, 21:22

    Interesting to see people jump ship from the sinking sloop called the Putin….

    On a sidenote: I do wonder what the guy, as well as Mazepin, hopes to achieve in autosport. They’re not exactly top-talents by any means, meaning any sponsors (aka Daddy) is merely pouring millions into a bottomless well. I guess if you have billions a few millions don’t hurt, but still. Seems like an expensive hobby….

    1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
      17th March 2022, 21:38

      Ask the strolls. They’re still trying to spend their way to victory

    2. Coventry Climax
      17th March 2022, 23:27

      Well, you may have heard of the saying that the best way to become a millionaire is through motorsports … and starting out as a billionaire.

      They might hope to get better and better and become a champion one day. If they have done some self reflection, they might admit they’re just doing it because they can and like it. Similar to us normal people going to our sportsclubs to train during the week and on weekends for a competitive game.

  2. The discriminated have to just suck it up. It is going to take 20 years for society to reflect on the discrimination. Meanwhile brown people don’t matter, only soviets vs soviets.

    1. @keithcollantine why are you continuing to allow this sort of blatant propaganda on your site and choosing to aid those who are engaging in a deliberate pro-Putin misinformation campaign?

  3. Will buying himself a non-Russian license allow this driver to speak glowingly of Vladimir Vladimirovich and the Russian war on Ukraine?

Comments are closed.