Russian F3 racer Smolyar to miss British round due to “visa issues”

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Russian Formula 3 racer Alexander Smolyar will not take part in this weekend’s round at Silverstone due to problems with his visa, his team has announced.

Smolyar is competing in the Formula 3 championship this year as an Authorised Neutral Driver after the FIA imposed restrictions on Russian and Belarussian licence holders in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He has raced in a largely blank red livery distinct from the blue colours used by team mates Caio Collet and Kush Maini.

Motorsport UK, the governing body of British motorsport, announced stricter restrictions on Russian competitors in March. It barred Russian licence holders from competing in events in Britain, casting doubt on whether Smolyar would be able to participate in this weekend’s F3 races.

His MP team has now confirmed Smolyar will not take his place in the field. “Due to UK visa issues, Alex Smolyar is not able to participate in round four at Silverstone,” the team announced ahead of the start of the British Grand Prix weekend. “He will be replaced for this event by Filip Ugran.”

Smolyar lies sixth in the championship after the first six races. His replacement Ugran completed a point-less season for Jenzer in the series last year and currently lies seventh in the Euroformula Open standings.

The Formula 3 championship is due to continue in Austria next week.

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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...

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21 comments on “Russian F3 racer Smolyar to miss British round due to “visa issues””

  1. Coventry Climax
    30th June 2022, 11:44

    Visa; as in ‘credit card’, ‘addendum to passport’ or both?

    “I’m an Authorised Neutral Driver.”
    “Oh, OK, so you’re Russian.”
    Ridiculous situation.

    1. Or Belarusian…

    2. Visa as in allowance to enter the country Coventry Climax. Due to the war quite a few countries have severely limited the option for Russian nationals (often to just those who have permanent residency, family of residents or humanitarian reasons) to get a visa to enter the country, including the UK.

  2. What a disgusting show from the UK. Discrimination in it’s most pure form.

    Just imagine the reaction and ramifications if Lewis Hamilton received this treatment.

    1. But Lewis Hamilton wouldn’t need a visa to enter the UK, he’s a British passport holder.

      1. You know exactly what I’m talking about.

        1. Nope. No one does. I imagine if there was a Russian GP this year Russia would have blocked the Visa’s of everyone that is from a country that is supporting Ukraine in their war efforts.

          1. The reasoning is that many of those who want visas to travel in Europe have ties to the russian government (including as has been shown in the past, secret agents!)

    2. It’s not ‘discrimination’ if there is a good reason why you treat people differently (happens constantly and everywhere).

      Of course you can discuss what a ‘good reason’ is.
      To me I would accept as a good reason that: ‘all Russians are needed back home to discuss why their leadership is bombing, raping, and killing innocent Ukrainians, and how to stop them’.
      That’s at least one of the reasons I use to not accept any sales to Russian citizens ATM.

      1. Discriminating against people merely because of the name of the country on their passport and/or racing licence is most certainly discrimination, jff.
        Every bit as much discrimination as treating people differently because of the colour of their skin, in fact.

        I don’t think punishing all Russian people for the actions of a government/leadership they have no influence over is a particularly good reason, personally. Smolyar has no more influence over his government than you do over yours. Probably less, actually.
        Now, if Smolyar was bombing, raping and killing people himself, on the other hand….

        1. Discriminating against people merely because of the name of the country on their passport and/or racing licence is most certainly discrimination, jff.

          Of course ‘discrimination’ is ‘discrimination’, but not all ‘treating differently’ is ‘discrimination’.
          Treating Russian citizens differently is acceptable IMO and happens widely (e.g. visa applications, in sporting events, etc.). We can have a long debate (and probably won’t agree) if this ‘treating differently’ is justified (allowed) or not (in which case it would be ‘discrimination’).

          1. This is discrimination.

            Treating certain Russians differently based on their individual actions is certainly acceptable – but it’s not acceptable to treat everyone from that country differently when they as just as innocent as you, I and many Ukrainians.

          2. At least we both agree that we are right and the other person wrong.
            But that seems to be the theme now in the comment section :P

    3. You must be a Russian Bot.

  3. Just a side story – a friend of mine was working in the UK visa processing centre in Moscow and they had people crying in the corridors every pick-up day. They were made to pay a full year of tuition in the UK (fair bit of money for Russia) just so they can apply for a student visa and then they’d be denied one.
    Obvs no refunds.

    1. they had people crying in the corridors every pick-up day

      It’s still insignificant compared to Ukrainians being submitted to indiscriminate bombing, raping, and killing. And in this case I don’t think this comparison is #whataboutism.

      1. Totally insignificant.
        Considering I’m referring to something that’s been happening around 12 years ago though, I’m curious why you think it’s not whataboutism?

        1. Maybe it would have been a good idea to include that this was over a decade before the current @minilemm, there really was no way of knowing that from your original post.

          1. Yeah, figured after I replied already – it was, of course, very obvious in my head :) my apologies

        2. As it happened 12 years ago, I gladly retract (and self ‘report’) my reply.
          Had I known this I would also have defined it as #whataboutism.

  4. Doesn’t the W Series run this weekend at Silverstone? I wonder if any of that talented ladies were even considered or if their agents/managers tried to get they fill in spot? Would be nice to see Chadwick mix it up with the boys and see if the W Series is producing an actual avenue in the higher series.

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