Nikita Mazepin, Haas, Silverstone, 2021

Russian drivers banned from competing in Britain by Motorsport UK

2022 F1 season

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Motorsport UK, the FIA-recognised governing body of British motorsport, has announced Russian licence holders are forbidden from competing in events in the UK.

It has taken the move in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine one week ago. Yesterday the FIA implemented a series of restrictions on Russian licence holders but allowed them to take part in its competitions providing they did so as neutrals.

Motorsport UK has gone further, announcing Russian and Belarusian licence-holders will be forbidden from taking part in events in Britain. The move applies to drivers and teams, and would therefore prevent Formula 1 driver Nikita Mazepin from being able to participate in July’s British Grand Prix.

“The entire Motorsport UK community condemns the acts of war by Russia and Belarus in Ukraine and expresses its solidarity and support towards all those affected by the ongoing conflict,” said Motorsport UK chair David Richards.

“We stand united with the people of Ukraine and the motorsport community following the invasion and the unacceptable actions that have unfolded. This is a time for the international motorsport community to act and show support for the people of Ukraine and our colleagues at the Federation Automobile d’Ukraine.”

FAU president Leonid Kostyuchenko wrote to the FIA earlier this week calling for the governing body of international motorsport to exclude competitors from Russia and Belarussia, which aided the invasion of Ukraine, from its events. Russian sportspeople have already been barred from other international competitions including football, ice skating, skiing and basketball.

“It is our duty to use whatever influence and leverage we might have to bring this wholly unjustified invasion of Ukraine to a halt,” Richards added. “We would encourage the motorsport community and our colleagues around the world to fully embrace the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee and do whatever we can to end this war.

“Motorsport UK stands united with Leonid Kostyuchenko, the President of the FAU, the Ukrainian motorsport community and the Ukrainian people and calls for the violence to end with a peaceful resolution.”

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Keith Collantine
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  • 140 comments on “Russian drivers banned from competing in Britain by Motorsport UK”

    1. And with that, the floodgates are open. I expect more to follow suit in the coming days. He’ll obviously be alright initially at Bahrain and Saudi but then we go to Australia and on to Europe.

      I think this will force Haas’ hand. He can’t pay for his seat anymore, they’ll struggle to get any more sponsorship with him in the car and now he can’t compete in some of the races.

      1. @petebaldwin, I share your view. More could follow suit, even putting pressure on FIA towards a full ban.

      2. Plus, he’s not very good.

      3. « The move applies to drivers and teams » affecting mechanics and engineers, truckies and installation crews.

    2. someone or something
      2nd March 2022, 11:45

      Using xenophobia to promote peace, yay.
      Sorry, but while I understand the Ukrainian federation’s position, this decision is egregiously stupid. This is nothing else than discrimination based on nationality, and should have no place in a developped country.

      1. That is a point of view, likely not shared by most who are disgusted with Russian actions. I expect this is just the beginning. It won’t be long until other FIA organizations follow the UK lead. I would guess countries will begin to close their borders to Russian passport holders too.

        Is the actions fair? Maybe not, but it is also not fair what is happening in Ukraine. Reminds me of the following from Nazi Germany by Pastor Martin Niemöller.

        First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
        Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
        Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
        Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

        1. someone or something
          2nd March 2022, 12:54

          You do realise this (very true but overused) quote is more applicable to this ban targetting people whose only crime is the posession of a specific passport, right?

          To avoid any confusion, I am very much in favour of sanctions that hurt those responsible, as well as sanctions that hurt the entire country, in order to increase pressure on the government. Sanctions against government agents as well as promoters and beneficiaries of this government’s actions? Hell yes. Sanctions against Russia’s economy? This is going to hurt a lot of people who had no say in all of this, but it’s a necessary evil.
          Banning national teams from representing Russia (and Belarus, of course) in international competitions? That’s more of a symbolic gesture, but if it helps transporting the message to the Russian public that basically the entire world is furious at them, bring it on.
          But banning individuals, that aren’t even allowed to participate under their country’s colours for a somewhat unrelated offence, from taking part in a competition based on nothing but their nationality?
          Not only does it open a can of worms, but first and foremost it’s primitive populism that reeks of xenophobia. Shame on everyone involved in that decision.

          1. There is a big difference between Russian citizens not being allowed to race in circles and Russian citizens being imprisoned, killed, or physically harmed for being Russian. Ukraine citizens are being killed, having homes and business destroyed for Ukrainian. If a few Russian citizens have to go home because their employment dried up due to the Russian government actions, so be it.

            1. someone or something
              2nd March 2022, 15:03

              Of course there is a difference. But I reiterate: This is discrimination based on nationality. This isn’t helping anyone, it’s making things worse. On a very small scale, maybe, but the fundamental idea of excluding Russians for no other reason than them being Russian is rotten to the core.
              Making it clear that it’s Russia (‘s government) the world is angry with, but not its people per se – that would be the classy thing to do.
              Or, you know, not going out of one’s way to create specific sanctions against people with a specific nationality. It’s could’ve been as easy as that.

          2. So you’re saying that destroying the Russian economy, wiping out ordinary people’s savings and potentially destroying everything they have worked for in their lives is a “necessary evil” that you’re OK with but stopping a few rich Russians from racing cars is a step too far?

            1. someone or something
              2nd March 2022, 15:14

              Well, yes. This goes way beyond socio-economic considerations. Under normal circumstances, I tend to agree with your take that many freedoms are designed in a way that the rich are their first and foremost beneficiaries.
              But my point is a wholly separate one. My point is about discrimination based on nationality. No other criteria, just “Russians out”. It’s a very small-scale decision, but the idea behind it horrifies me.
              And yes, economic sanctions tend to hurt ordinary people way more than oligarchs and their kids, and I hate that fact probably as much as you do. But what else can you do? The idea should be to antagonise the Russian government and telling the Russian people that their government is to blame. Antagonising the Russians for no other reason than them being Russians achieves nothing, or maybe even aids the narrative the the West is the enemy of the Russian people.

            2. Yeah fair enough – I get your point. I guess they way some are looking at it is this is it’s another attempt to antagonise the Russian government and to get more people thinking that their government is to blame. It’s just another small way of isolating the country so that in addition to the economic sanctions, they can’t even watch their countrymen compete in sports. On it’s own, it’ll achieve nothing but if every industry excludes Russia, then it has a larger impact.

              I don’t like the idea of discrimination based on nationality… I think a lot of people just feel completely helpless and a bit scared by what is going on and are doing everything they can to try and stop this.

              Whereas the Russians are surrounding Ukrainian cities and are cutting off supplies of food, water, electricity and information to isolate them, the West is trying to retaliate by cutting Russia off from the outside world. They can’t watch their team play football, they can’t compete in motorsport, they can’t buy things from abroad, they can’t travel… At some point, the hope is that Russians will stand up en masse and revolt. It won’t work if small numbers do it if large numbers get involved and it includes high profile people such as sportsmen and oligarchs, it’s be much more effective.

            3. someone or something I understand your well articulated point, but I’m just going to have to have a think on why it is ‘ok’ or understandable to sanction a whole nation in order to remind them that it is their government that is to blame, yet one individual should not be included in that body of people ‘just because he is Russian.’ Is he not also a citizen of Russia who should have sanctions affect him such that he might ‘see the light’ and reject Putin’s actions? I agree ‘Russians out’ sounds horrifying, if Russia was minding it’s own business and not doing anything wrong. Don’t these extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, not unlike the pandemic? Sure it’s ‘just because he is Russian’ and isn’t that the point? Just brainstorming here.

              That said, I was fine with yesterday’s FIA announcement allowing Mazepin to race this season, provided he is a neutral and is not out there expounding Putin’s ‘virtues.’ To me there is something ‘taking the higher road’ about that somehow. Yet I can also see the optics side of it, as we now know for e.g. with the likes of UK Motorsport.

            4. If it fair on those people? Not really, I guess @petebaldwin. But on the other hand, with the nuclear means at Putins hands available, is there any other, better option to stop him.

              There are at least 7000 people in Russia who were brutally arrested for protesting this. And there is about a million of signatures under calls from Russians to stop this war. Many recruits (hundreds, maybe thousands) who are rather walking away from their tanks than fighting. There ARE russian people who are risking their lives to stop the fighting. But that is on a population of about 145 million.

              We cannot completely ignore that the Russians also voted for Putin, and a large majority to this day is supportive of him and what he says he wants to achieve. That includes a boatload of Russian athletes. In the end, the only realistic way of stopping him is when the russian people protest more, leave the country, the oligarchs running his money schemes step up and end his rule.
              It certainly beats launching nukes to try and bomb Putin out of his Ural bunker. Which is the only other option we outside russia have if we feel sanctions are not ethical, just or right.
              Or we can tell the Ukrainians to just accept possible genocide, take in some 6-12 million of them that survive and wait for them to fight back until Russia succumbs under their regime and its mistakes another 20 years down the line. But that is not a really ethical or just or right thing to do either.

            5. If it fair on those people? Not really, I guess @petebaldwin. But on the other hand, with the nuclear means at Putins hands available, is there any other, better option to stop him.

              There are at least 7000 people in Russia who were brutally arrested for protesting this. And there is about a million of signatures under calls from Russians to stop this war. Many recruits (hundreds, maybe thousands) who are rather walking away from their tanks than fighting. There ARE russian people who are risking their lives to stop the fighting. But that is on a population of about 145 million.

              We cannot completely ignore that the Russians also voted for Putin, and a large majority to this day is supportive of him and what he says he wants to achieve. That includes a boatload of Russian athletes. In the end, the only realistic way of stopping him is when the russian people protest more, leave the country, the oligarchs running his money schemes step up and end his rule.
              It certainly beats launching nukes to try and bomb Putin out of his Ural bunker. Which is the only other option we outside russia have if we feel sanctions are not ethical, just or right.
              Or we can tell the Ukrainians to just accept their country, their culture and language being wiped of the maps, take in some 6-12 million of them that survive and wait for them to fight back until Russia succumbs under their regime and its mistakes another 20 years down the line. But that is not a really ethical or just or right thing to do either.

          3. Only crime? Sure, if you ignore his father is one of Putin’s biggest supporters. Mazepine has failed to speak out against the war and still shows a post on his Instagram feed of a very friendly meeting with one Vladimir Putin.

            Why should elite Russians be allowed to continue to live their luxury lifestyles as if nothing has happened? The more pain that individual, high-profile Russians feel, the more likely there will be a change in Moscow.

            Send them all back to Russia.

      2. someone or something
        2nd March 2022, 13:18

        You’re embarrassing yourself.

        1. “Great” come back, lowlife #putinman

          1. someone or something
            2nd March 2022, 15:33

            You are incapable of reading and understanding at the same time, aren’t you? Just because I oppose a populist, xenophobic sanction aimed at individuals that have the “wrong” nationality, I must be Putin’s lapdog?
            Read my other comments, if your brain is even able to comprehend strings of more than four words. Or shut the hell up. Whatever you do, please stop making an already bad discussion even worse with your ignorance.

        2. “@someone or something” You are putin’s lapdog for even trying to reason his actions and for opposing any sanctions toward russia by democratic society. Now pi…s 0ff

      3. Discrimination – cry me a river.

      4. I disagree. Did everyone say the same thing when South Africa was banned from sport?

        Putin has used sport a great deal for his propaganda purposes. Not only that but you have to think about the sports people of Ukraine and if they could ever currently compete against a Russian.

        Unfortunately there is zero way to actually hit Putin directly with any punishment. The people of Russia are therefore going to bear the brunt of the punishments and it will be up to them to see if they want to fight to free their own country from the grips of a deranged dictator. I mean do we think Ukrainian civilians deserve to be bombed in order for Putin to have a chuckle?

        Remember this is not a normal (if there ever is normal) war. Putin has decided Ukraine should no longer exist. Not only that but has then threatened to destroy the world if anyone stands in his way.

      5. Sanctions are not xenophobic, they’re peaceful way to compel governments to abandon abhorrent behavior.

    3. I understand both points of view.

      On the one hand, the outside world cannot get rid of Putin without going to a full-blown war, so he has to be got rid of from the inside by the Russian people. So this is just further extension of the tactics countries are using to make the Russian people as unhappy as possible and make them want to get rid of Putin.

      On the other hand, these drivers have done nothing wrong, and are effectively being discriminated against because of their nationality, and there isn’t really anything they themselves can do about Putin.

      It is very much a complicated and unsatisfactory solution, but is probably a necessary evil as the combination of everything that is happening to Russia will eventually create a unified hatred of Putin within Russia, and that is probably the most peaceful way to get rid of him. Nevertheless, I feel very sorry for the likes of Nikita Mazepin, Daniil Kvyat, and all the Russian people who are suffering for what their leader is doing (which is all of them), but they are not suffering as much as the people of Ukraine.

      1. “these drivers have done nothing wrong”

        Two wrongs don’t make a right. They may not have done anything wrong, but I don’t see/hear them speaking out about what is being done in their countries name. Why not use their fame like Sebastian Vettel did to speak out against this atrocity?

        1. Ultimately it’s because Vettel and is family will be safe regardless of what he says and Russian drivers and their families won’t be. Making an anti-Putin statement as a Russian is dangerous business.

          At the same time, I personally don’t have an issue with banning Russian drivers from competing because it’s so far down the list of importance. 99% of Russians will face worse problems as a direct consequence of this war than racing drivers.

      2. It is very much a complicated and unsatisfactory solution, but is probably a necessary evil

        I am with you, here. None of this is satisfactory. There are so many sanctions which are hurting innocent, individual Russians who have done nothing wrong.

        However, Russia’s actions are killing innocent individual Ukrainians, when not even their country has done anything wrong. Unfortunately, there will be some innocents harmed by the sanctions in Russia and elsewhere (including in the West), but that harm is insignificant next to the harm being done to Ukrainians. I don’t think barring a few sportspeople from competing is particularly extreme while their country is bombing innocent civilians, and it is yet another lever which can be used in an attempt to stop the violence.

        Plus, it’s actually quite a mild reaction. My own grandfather’s family had to flee from the UK when WWII broke out, as they would likely have been imprisoned in a concentration camp just for being German. I would be against it if we were going that far, but we are not even close to that level yet.

      3. RandomMallard
        2nd March 2022, 17:13

        I agree with this. It’s far from ideal, and there’ll be critics of the decision no matter which decision is made. I can understand both arguments, and why people could see it that way. However, I’ll admit that Formula 1 or motorsport isn’t the first thing on my mind when I think of what’s going on in Ukraine at the moment.

        I expect this will create a domino effect eventually though, and most western-aligned countries I expect will soon follow suit.

      4. @f2frog “done nothing wrong”?

        In the case of Mazepin, I’m afraid his family’s direct connections with Putin almost guarantee he will be targeted by more than just Motorsport UK.

    4. This isn’t xenophobia. It’s not fear of Russians, it’s a political move attempting to end the war and save innocent lives. You should use the dictionary before using words.

      Russia leaves Ukraine immediately, Russian competitors will be allowed back. Actions have consequences. Anything that destabilises support for Puttin and his war should be done. I’m pleased motorsport UK had more courage than the FIA.

      1. Was meant to be a reply someone or something…

      2. “It’s not fear of Russians, it’s a political move attempting to end the war and save innocent lives.”
        Honestly, how many innocent lives will be saved by banning Russian drivers competing in Britain?
        Such steps are simply about getting on the bandwagon and feeling themselves respectable members of the society, while actually doing nothing useful against war and aggression.

      3. someone or something
        2nd March 2022, 12:59

        You should use the dictionary before using words.

        You’ve made me exhale through my nose somewhat more strongly than usual, I’ll give you that.
        But I cannot take you seriously.

        1. You should. Their post is closer to being right than yours.

      4. I luv chicken
        2nd March 2022, 16:42

        +1, Anthony. I’m saddened by the fact that “ someone…” has so little comprehension of facts, reading what he wants into what is completely different from his interpretation. Remember, that the racers compete at the the pleasure of their national sporting authorities. They represent the national body that issues the document. Hold a Russian licence, you’re out. This is in line with other sanctions against the Russian gov’t.

      5. richEQ (@richcaldwell)
        2nd March 2022, 18:23

        Yup! +1
        Every means possible should be used to pressure Russia and it’s people to stop this evil madness.
        Yes, it’s unfortunate that some rich inocent Russian people suffer, but they need to do everything they can to help stop this evil madness.
        If they feel they can do nothing then change nationality and get out.. in this arena, we are talking about a bunch of very wealthy people who have the ability to do that.
        For the poor people of Russia and Ukraine, maybe something other than motorsport can help them.
        Again: Every means possible should be used to pressure Russia and it’s people to stop this evil madness.

        Maybe stopping pumping millions a day over to buy Russian oil and gass might attract Putin’s attention!

    5. But the Aramco signs are staying I presume?
      Talk about hypocritical.

    6. johnandtonic
      2nd March 2022, 12:31

      Individuals discriminated based on nationality. Would F1 race in a country where the teams could not bring their people based on nationality? Perhaps FOM / FIA should question if racing in the UK is appropriate with these attitudes. It seems Richards is out of touch and the governance organizations needs reformed. Time for him to go.

      1. They do; Kubica’s engineer Mehdi Ahmadi was refused entry to the United States in 2007 for being Iranian.

        Kubica himself was also unable to race due to his crash in the previous round, so replacement-driver Vettel was assisted by replacement-engineer Ossi Oikarinen.

        1. @MichaelN I knew Oikarinen worked at BMW-Sauber at the time & that he did something with Seb for his debut as Kubica’s temporary replacement. However, I was entirely unaware of Mehdi Ahmadi until today.

      2. It is not based on Nationality it is based on actions of an evil dictator that happens to be their head of state.

        I think you will find that the UK will be the first of many. The FIA is then faced with either cancelling the Championship this year or banning Russian and Belarussian drivers.

    7. A very welcome move by UK Motorsport.

      There must be maximum pressure on the murderous Putin regime.

      To say Russian drivers have done nothing wrong so this is unfair is an argument which could be used in regard all sanctions as they effect millions of Russians who have done nothing wrong either. To accept that argument there would be no sanctions ever be applied. Yet they must be.

      If this murderous aggression against a democratic country which might seem a long way away succeeds where will it ever stop in the attempt to recreate the old Soviet Empire?

      Defend our freedom or lose it.

      1. But we happily visit warlord America twice

        1. greasemonkey
          2nd March 2022, 15:49

          I think it is a bit Narrow Minded :) to assert the US is warlord in nature. It is human in nature, same as everywhere else. The system within which the humans function is a democratic republic straining to find a path to retain its vision of human rights (such as the 1st Amendment — free speech) within the constraints of human nature (voting based on snippets of spun ads that are paid with money…IOW, money buying votes).

          The main problem the US has right now, at its core, is that it gave non-people (Corporations) too many rights that should be just for people. Which gives the ultimate sociopath “person” (a public corporation) too much power. But the solutions floated are themselves not accounting for human nature (supple/demand and “market” are emergent human nature).

          “warlord” is the wrong word for this, as it implies no counter action that would actually help. It simply escalates ill will.

          1. so many words to say nothing…

    8. Ordinary innocent Russians are suffering from rightful and necessary sanctions. This is part of the cost of war that Vladimir Putin has laid on his own people. Racing drivers not being allowed to race, easily and obviously fits into this equation. They need to take this up with Putin.

      1. This is equivalent to a company firing all Muslim employees because a bunch of extremists hit the WTC, or all Jewish employees because Israel started bombing Gaza, etc. These drivers aren’t part of the “Russian national team”, they are individuals focusing on their career and it’s extremely discriminatory to forbid them based on their nationality.

        1. Russian is a nationality, not a religion.

          Also, I cannot imagine someone being surprised by limits being put on individuals from certain nations 2 years into the COVID-19 pandemic.

        2. These are not a bunch of extremest, this is a state invading a country. They belong to that state and sanctions are made to hurt. It would be nice if only those who support these attacks would be targeted but that’s not possible.

        3. That is total rubbish. We are effectively at war with Russia (although currently only Economically).

          Remember Iranian Athletes refused to compete against Israeli athletes at the Olympics.

        4. @abashrawi Disagree but I understand the point you are making.

        5. @abashraw many Russian drivers raced under their national flag (until they weren’t due to sanctions due to Olympic-cheating and/or state war-mongering) and many also take money from either the state or private individuals to represent their nation.

          It’s all intertwined…

        6. You could have made a comparison between The US and UK having similar sanctions placed on them or their athletes, when they engaged in what many agreed was an illegal war in Iraq (2003) and I could have agreed. Yes I think that could have or should have happened.

    9. If Hamilton or Verstappen happened to be off Russian nationality, would this decision still have been made?

    10. Russia and Belarus are at war with Ukraine. They are killing and will kill any and all Ukrainians that don’t surrender. Nationals from these countries should be expelled from countries that recognize these actions as unprovoked aggression. If you want to ban US citizens because of the military presence in Syria, I would be fine with that. All sovereign nations have a right to allow or expel citizens from any other country as they deem fit. Would you argue that the Ukrainians shouldn’t expel Russians from their country?

    11. I condemn Russian aggression and find most of the economical sanctions justified, but at the same time I think we see a very destructive attitude getting loose and it will fire back. In the next few years and decades, I expect much more ban and political involvement in a field which should normally help bringing people together instead of alienation and exclusion.

    12. I am saddened by such acts of unwarranted discrimination.
      Putin would be proud of us for lowering our own standards to the same inhumane behaviour.
      People are people, and should never be used as political pawns by anyone.

      Anyone in favour of eradicating discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, sexuality or religion should not be supporting this. The double standards are despicable.

      1. Not at all. I support equality. however this is different. They are not being banned forever they are being banned while Russia continues its aggression against the western world. Putin uses sport as a propaganda tool banning sports people from Russia probably has a bigger personal effect on Putin that the sanctions.

      2. It’s not discrimination, it’s a direct consequence of the actions of the Russian government.

    13. I’m afraid that a collective punishment of Russian citizens will send the wrong message to the people. It suits Putins (CCPs too) narrative of a pretentious, self-righteous and hypocritical western society.

      1. I’m not sure ‘Your opportunities in the world are being curtailed as a result of an invasion that you may or may not support” is a propaganda message Mr Putin would want to perpetuate.

        1. someone or something
          2nd March 2022, 13:24

          The propaganda message that will be – and is already – spun out of the sanctions is “The West™ is conspiring against Russia and every single Russian”. Propagandists gonna propaganda, but sanctions against Russians for being Russians are grist to the mill of a propaganda machinery that’s already grasping at straws.

          1. My point being that you cannot propagandize this specific limitation on Russians in the UK without mentioning said specific limitations themselves, which is counterproductive to the underlying goal.

            1. someone or something
              2nd March 2022, 15:27

              I’m not sure I understand your point. Could it be that you under-estimate how brazenly the government-controlled media in Russia have twisted facts in order to conform to the desired narrative?
              Nikita Mazepin, Russia’s only F1 driver, has just been banned from racing in Britain, because he’s a Russian. It takes absolutely no skill to turn that fact into propaganda. In fact, it’s so much closer to the truth than the whole web of lies that was used as a justification for the invasion, it almost looks like the truth by comparison.

            2. Sorry, but this is extremely naive.

    14. Maybe Niki should take his newly free weekend as an opportunity to travel home and do something about these new limits put on his career development.

      1. I’m pretty sure Mazepin doesn’t hold a Russian licence, so my understanding is he will still be allowed to race. The article says, Russian licence holders, not Russians.

    15. TBH I don’t think Putin will care about drivers not been allowed to race.

      He’ll likely just use it as more propaganda to spew to the Russian people who are been told that there country & it’s people are been attacked & discriminated against by the west. I saw on the news earlier that all of the independent TV/Radio news stations have been shut down now & that the internet is also been restricted with anything critical of Putin blocked. And it was also said on the BBC this morning that they had people in Ukraine that had family in Russia that believed what they were hearing in the media over what there own family were saying such is the power of the Russian state run media.

      Putin controls the narrative in Russia & many of the Russian people believe it as they are not hearing the other side of any argument. Those who know how to get around the blocks/bans may be able to see the truth but how many of those are there?

      The sanctions, The sporting bans etc.. are essentially the only things anyone in the west can do yet they are things that are going to be spun in a way that could end up strengthening Putin’s support at home rather than weakening it. Propaganda is a powerful took & Putin & his government just like the soviet governments before him are better at playing that game than anyone else.

      It’s difficult because these things while necessary are only really going to hurt those who aren’t really in the fight. Those who have spent there lives working towards sporting or other goals & the ordinary Russian people who don’t really know the truth of what is going on.

      1. Propaganda is a powerful took & Putin & his government just like the soviet governments before him are better at playing that game than anyone else.

        Mr Putin has nothing to gain from telling his loyal audience that they are now more limited in what they can and cannot do.

      2. @roger-ayles Of course Putin doesn’t care at all. But he might care if Mazepin’s dad starts complaining and withholding his support for Putin.

    16. In international sports the athlete is seen to not just represent their team but their country too. There is a feeling that with the unwarranted attack on the Ukraine that Russia should not be represented on the international sports stage and thus Russian athletes are being banned/censured/etc. You can’t think of these athletes as you would the bloke from accounting who is from Russia and thus say it’s discrimination because of where they were born. The goal is to put pressure on Putin to stop the attack as at least some of these athletes, like Ovechkin, are friends of Putin and may be able to speak sense to him.

      1. In international sports the athlete is seen to not just represent their team but their country too.

        Indeed, and all the more so in FIA racing series where drivers participate on a license granted by an FIA member organization – which, as far as I’m aware – is always a national organization. Hence the Dutch flag and anthem for Belgium-born Max Verstappen.

    17. wrldsgne2sht
      2nd March 2022, 13:35

      I agree with these bannings completely. Infact, these bans should be alot more widespread and also should take into account a nations past actions if you ask me.

      Given the alleged breaking of international law by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain during in its current intervention in Yemen, all licences should be banned, and the Jeddah & Abu Dhabi GPs scrapped.

      UK & US military integrity is scetchy at best, and so well known I cant be bothered to list them so ban us and the Americans also.

      Germany… gone.

      China… gone.

      Australia’s failing to address human rights abuses in the West Papua conflicts, gone.

      Bored now, but you get the point

    18. What putin is doing, is extremely wrong.

      But I don’t recall American drivers getting banned when the US attacked Iraq, with forged documents no less.

      Just take a look at this: https://i.imgur.com/wTBYxPq.jpg

      Western hypocrisy at its best as always.

      1. I agree. Same when the coalition attacked Libya. But I would also say that the bans are appropriate as a means to stop war.

      2. I also don’t remember Iraq becoming another U.S. state as Russia is planning with Ukraine.

        1. Yeah, cause it became worse.

      3. You’re asking why the Belarus motorsports authority isn’t banning Russian drivers from competing.

    19. People don’t seem to understand what’s going on. There is no fair here. There is going to be collateral damage everywhere, Russians and the rest of us, one way or another. We are all going to have to pay a price in some way or other.

      Personally, I have no problem with Russian competitors competing provided they publicly condemn the invasion. Anything else for me complicity. Competitors cannot hide behind the “don’t mix politics with sport” mantra or ignorance. This is time to speak up or step back into the shadows.

      As things are, Russia could start to turn cities into the Ukrainian version of Aleppo. I mean, come on people, this is just sport, who cares about Russian drivers being excluded from sport!

      1. You’ve emphasized precisely one of the reasons why I think there should be a ban. You can’t demand sportspeople condemn their national regime when that regime is quite capable of taking retaliatory measures against them or their family. At the same time, having a Russian sportsperson make statements in favour of Putin and the Russian invasion would be inflamatory and lead to people demanding their ban – but on what basis? Unable to express their views? Isn’t that supposed to be a mainstay of a (free) liberal democracy?
        I don’t want to see either situation happening. At the same time, I think curtailing the freedom of Russians, internationally, is acceptable while their country’s government is waging war on a liberal democracy. Sorry, just the way it goes. Democratic countries don’t declare on one another. They do declare war on repressive regimes – sometimes I agree, sometimes, often, I strongly disagree. But that basically principle applies. You want to know why? If Russia is becomes the pattern – a capitalist ‘free market’ country with an alleged democracy actually run by an authoritarian regime – this will be become a model for all our governments. Including the US and many European nations. Think on.

        1. Agreed, good point, a ban removes any jeopardy.

          Daniil Kvyat’s ‘unfair’ comment helped form my opinion on this, as did the indifferent comments of Nikita Mazepin. The world will not and should not stop turning because of Ukraine, but the political context of sports must be taken into account during this unprecedented moment of crisis. As I said, one way or other, we are probably going to pay price. None of this is fair.

          UK Motorshop made the right call and should be commended for it.

          1. I agree with you concerning the ‘unfair’ comments. It’s a unique and volatile situation in many ways and right at this moment a ban seems safer all round since participation in a global sport is also a form of global exposure, which could be a source of jeopardy like you say as drivers and other competitors come under mental pressures and stress.

    20. Good decision, which also FIA should have taken.

      But like IOC, ATP and other big sports organizations they went for the simple way, to let participants start under some ‘neutral’ flag. Not enough in my opinion!

    21. This is one of those things were it’s impossible to know where to draw a line. While I condemn war in any part of this world, to have institutions banning individuals is a political statement in itself. Isn’t sport apolitical? the USA was at war for the most part of this millenium, and sanctions were non-existent, even if the reasoning was found to be an absolute lie. It even involved the United Kingdom. And we didn’t hear the FIA or any other organization banning people from competing.

      I’d imagine they’d used the “sport needs to send a message of peace” line they always use. “We’re here to send a message” or whatever.

      Nikita, Shwartzman or any other Russian driver didn’t start the war. Their involvement would be the same as an American driver on the Afghanistan war. And over there there’s even an Indycar team sponsored by the US Air Force!

      1. @fer-no65 – They can use any slogans they like about “sport bringing peace” etc but it’s all just PR nonsense. Sport isn’t apolitical and it never will be. Governments pay huge sums to host Grand Prix for political reasons – not just because they like F1 and want to have a race close to where they live.

        The usual statement of sport being apolitical is designed as an easy get-out when organisers don’t want to get involved in a political debate.

    22. Just off the top of my head, this will prevent Leo Machitski from defending his British GT title – I believe he was due to do so with the same teammate as last year.

      I wonder how many other national sanctioning bodies will follow suit. Could be a way of pressuring the FIA into a full-scale ban.

    23. @jimfromus …while claiming Ukraine has no right to exist and is part of Greater Russia. That’s a crucial point. When Putin tipped over that line, he changed the existential dimensions of the conflict from being about ‘fighting terrorism’, ‘inhibiting NATO’ and ‘recognizing independence of separatist regions’ to invasion, conquest and annihilation of a sovereign state. Russia can still backtrack from that position if pressurized. Maybe.

    24. Interesting. Perhaps FIA will resort to a full ban for Russian drivers, after all, if more countries start following suit.

    25. I wonder if the Afghans or Iraqis had a voice what their opinions will be.

    26. Just ridiculous.

    27. I hope this ban won’t come into effect. The fia cannot accept this ruling, motorsport uk is not above the fia. I also hope this is not retaliation for not winning the fia’s presidency. Frankly as much as I appreciate Silverstone, these are grounds for a British GP cancellation. We’ve talked about this plenty on this website, sport has to remain apolitical as there is always 2 sides of a coin, when sport becomes political it is becomes weaponized.

      1. @peartree “when sport becomes political it is becomes weaponized” Being silent about russians invading Ukraine is supporting putin actions.

        1. @denis1304 No it is not. This is as bad as deporting a tennis player because he may be seen to promote unvaccination, even though this player fulfills the criteria for entering the country, meanwhile this player never said anything against the vaccine other that he does not want to have it.
          The world is completely daft at the moment.
          Mass discrimination is apparently fine because of peer pressure. The world is going through adolescence.

          1. @peartree Novak Djokovic was lying on the application for entering to Australia and try to use falsified documents. That was the reason he was deported from country.
            So just stop trying to spread misinformations, you sound like russian tv RN.

            1. @denis1304 you need to fact check yourself. I forgive you. Everyone makes mistakes.

            2. @denis1304 you need to fact check and be up to date. The link for the bbc article that I gave you has the whole timeline of events. You are the one spreading misinformation by not properly analyzing the things you say. You just repeat what everyone says, you are the puppet. You can change. I believe in you.

          2. @peartree You are delusional putin a.$.$-k.i.$.$ Iackey. I would never give a f…k about your “forgiving” me about my statements.

          3. @peartree You’re a delusional putin a.$.$-kissing Iackey.

      2. Dave Richards supported Ben’s candidacy with both MotorsportUK and the RAC endorsing Sulayem at a critical time in the election process.

    28. @jimfromus the US did everything it could to have Russia declare war on Ukraine.

      1. Could you expand your thoughts?

        1. @blueruck @david-br @jimfromus
          It all started a while back and as all things US it has to do with oil.
          US sees China and Russia as threats. Russia like China have expanded greatly. The US does not want Russia to become a greater threat therefore they do anything in order to annoy or simply hamper Russia and China. They do it with sanctions, and humiliation (olympics). The language barrier helps the west to and media is very partizan.
          Now on europe, EU does not want Ukraine because they are too Russian and Nato does not want Ukraine because the country is Nato’ buffer to Russia. Nobody trully cares about Ukraine. Russia want to have influence on Ukraine but the US is also interested in that. Turns out the gas that Russia wants to sell to Germany goes through Ukraine.
          The US did not want Russia to sell gas to Germany. The US claimed such business went against NATO. Meanwhile the deal was signed and the pipeline finally extended to Germany but the US blocks the deal and war starts.

      2. @peartree See my comment above. The issues Russia claimed were provocative evaporated when Putin declared that Ukraine shouldn’t exist anyway. You can’t claim force is required to negotiate with a rival country when you subsequently declare that country has no right to exist.

    29. I’m not sure how I feel about this. While sports have always been and always will be political, I’m not sure how banning Russian drivers from competing achieves the political goal of punishing Putin and his oligarchy and removing Russia from Ukraine. Will banning these drivers really increase pressure on Putin and the oligarch to leave Ukraine? I honestly don’t think it will matter to him at all.

      There are many Russians who don’t support the war, inside and outside of Russia. Being Russian, in and of itself, does not mean supporting or contributing to the war. I know some people say that if the drivers say they are opposed to the war then that should allow them to compete, but Russia has found a way to punish those who speak out against Putin. Even with attempted murders on foreign soil. I am not comfortable asking someone to potentially sacrifice their life to take a stand against Putin. If they want to do that on their own, I think that’s great. Well done. But I can’t ask someone to do that. The most likely outcome of this whole horrible ordeal is that Putin will remain in power. Even if Russia somehow loses this war, he will stay in power. And as long as he is in power, you are asking for someone to potentially sacrifice their life by speaking out against him.

      I think there are probably ways of allowing Russian drivers to compete without promoting Russia or the Putin regime. I don’t know what they are, but I am sure there have to be some. Maybe if they raced under the FIA flag instead of the Russian Automobile Federation (RAF) that might be a start. But I am open to ideas.

    30. Troubling, all the talk of tolerance is just talk. If you give people an excuse to hate on a group they take that opportunity with relish.

      1. Unbelievable isn’t it

    31. In the scheme of things who really gives a monkeys about people racing cars of any nation, were on the verge of World War 3…

    32. Mario Andretti
      2nd March 2022, 17:28

      Hypocrisy at its finest! America and its coalition, including Britain and France, invaded the sovereign country of Iraq under complete false pretenses. Killed hundreds of thousands of people. Caused untold suffering for millions of people. Created ISIS. Created Irans greatest ally and stole millions of barrels of Iraqi oil. No one was banned.

      This is a crock of duplicitous Western manure.

    33. This is a case of double standards. When Nato was bombing Yugoslavia to dismember it, not a single voice in the West was heard condemning such an unwarranted bombing of a peaceful country. The religious fights that were used to condemn Yugoslavia to dismemberment were started by the Intelligence Services powers.

      When Nato invaded Iraq, nobody prevented any of their athletes to participate in any event.

      All are after the Evil Putin. Did you know Putin spent 4 years in Africa advising Angola and Mozambique in their Wars of Liberation?

      While Nato has obliterated whole Iraqi cities with all their populations inside, children and women included, to get rid of “Isis”- which they themselves created and funded for the fulfillment of
      their schemes, nobody in the West protested such wanton loss of life.

      And in Syria, if Putin was of such ilk as NATO, he would have bombed IDLIB to oblivion at least three years ago.

      But yet, he is the most evil amongst all the monsters that populate the G7-

      Call me a Putinphile, I take is as an honor. He is a respectable Leader and a great human being.

      If Russia wanted to obliterate Ukraine, or the UK itself, it would take less that a morning.

      1. #RussianBotAlert

      2. Just to combat the disinformation, the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia found various Yugoslav/Serbian leaders guilty of crimes against humanity (related to ethnic cleansing of Albanians in the Kosovo region), which directly precipitated the Kosovo war and later NATO intervention. The latter indeed had problematic aspects but it was not on a ‘peaceful country’ at that point in time.
        The Iraq war was indeed illegal and brutal in execution and should be considered a war crime too.
        Putin’s military strategy is to bombard cities, terrifying the population to cause them to flee, then heavy destruction of remaining rebel forces (seen for example in Grozny and Syria and now seemingly in Ukraine). Whether they’re comparable to US wars is a reasonable question to ask but doesn’t negate the illegality of the present war, which means resulting deaths, including deliberate targetting of civilians, should be considered a war crime too. That’s without, of course, getting into the actions of his regime within Russia in suppressing dissent.

    34. Motorsport UK appears to have found the balls that the FIA has lost.

      1. @scbriml balls is standing for sport and not to become a political weapon or to pat yourself on the back.

        1. @peartree Sport has always been a political weapon. To believe otherwise is naive.

          1. @scbriml not the point. Just because a kitchen knife can kill it doesn’t change the fact it is made for the kitchen.

            1. @peartree Meanwhile in the real World, even the IOC (the most corrupt sports body on the planet) has now banned Russian and Belarus athletes from the winter paralympics.

            2. @scbriml the mafia largely stayed away from dealing drugs. Bad for the neighbourhood they use to say.

    35. greasemonkey
      2nd March 2022, 17:59

      We Race as One Minus One

      Which amounts to Zero. Virtue signaling is cool and all, until a new hate becomes cool.

      1. I take it you underestimate the gravity of the situation, all it takes is one misplaced cruise missile to hit a nuclear powerplant and Europe is bathed in radioactivity and Article 5 is triggered….If you thought Covid was bad this is another level…ie WW3

        1. greasemonkey
          2nd March 2022, 18:20

          And banning a driver based on nationality with the level of glee and hate demonstrated alters that how? Besides contributing to divisiveness where it cannot help?

          Dropping Sochi. Yes, that is appropriate from something like F1.

          Banning any and all supply chain (race fuel, parts, code, etc) from Russia, yes, also that would be appropriate.

          But targeting civilians anywhere along the spectrum (from sports to bombs) is just old school wrong path. If anything it just feeds any narrative Putin wants to slide it into.

    36. Wow. It’s a good thing the rest of the world doesn’t take the same approach towards Britain, considering their habit of militarily and culturally destroying societies they come in contact with. Besides, I just KNEW it was Russian athletes who were responsible for this mess. This is kinda like not being able to punish a thief, so you put their kids in jail instead. But I guess it makes it seem like they’re doing something…..

    37. Yep. And correct calls, eventually, are being made in various places. Danny Kvyat’s statement was frankly embarrassing.

      “Why should Russians be punished?”
      No brainer, because your elected President has invaded and is trying to subjugate another free and self determined country.

      Q. Danny, if the USA invaded your country, launched missile attacks on your hospitals, schools, housing. Sent 150,000 troops and tens of thousands of tanks, rocket arrays and other Russian military aggressive hardware. And then told you, you were being rescued. It was all a liberation. How would you feel?

      Russia has invaded a sovereign state. It is now using missile attacks on the people of that country, NOT military targets.

      Russia has declared war in Europe. The world does not accept it, and your shrug about unfairness against Russian sports people is frankly shocking. Denounce Putin’s actions. The World sports federations are doing this so people in Russia see through the lies Putin’s machine is spinning them.

      Banning Russia for competing in global sports is yet another way of getting the reality of what your country is actively doing in attacking Ukraine across to the Russian people.

      You have a platform Danny. Use it

      1. greasemonkey
        2nd March 2022, 18:36

        That line of thought led to Japanese internment camps, etc.

        Acknowledged, it is not straight apples to apples, since Russia does have elections of sorts. But that is really splitting hairs, because people who voted for the losing side(s) are EXPECTED to not stage a coup because they lost. Otherwise, they whole thing devolves back to tyranny.

        1. greasemonkey
          2nd March 2022, 18:39

          The whole Jan 6th debacle in the USA is exactly bad because it was the losing side thinking a coup mindset.

          Therefore, I cannot accept that it is ok to target civilians directly. Collateral damage (economic impact, etc), of actions done at state level, is not the same (although that really sucks to have to be).

          1. ‘Japanese internment camps’

            Jeez, this is nearly as bad as RT showing old episodes of ‘The World at War’ before it got taken off the air…

            This is the ‘here and now’… not some ‘then and them’

            1. greasemonkey
              2nd March 2022, 18:49

              “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

            2. The Nazi occupation of Ukraine ended the lives of millions of civilians in The Holocaust and other Nazi mass killings: it is estimated 900,000 to 1.6 million Jews and 3 to 4 million non-Jewish Ukrainians were killed during the occupation; other sources estimate that 5.2 million Ukrainian civilians (of all ethnic groups …

              What this bit?

            3. greasemonkey
              2nd March 2022, 19:43

              Doesn’t that support my point? Nazi’s policy targeting individuals based on ethnicity or nationality sounds pretty pretty bad to me.

    38. ‘banning a driver based on nationality with the level of glee and hate’

      I don’t think there’s any of that, if anything its with a heavy heart and a sigh of disbelief.

      Russia is being to coin a old phase ‘Sent to Coventry’

      Russia will join North Korea with being all alone and sent back decades in everything…

      1. greasemonkey
        2nd March 2022, 18:40

        China will be on Russia’s side of the split. And take this as precedence to take Taiwan.

        1. One War at a time eh ;-)

          But you can guarantee that China are watching this with interest and starting to realise that money talks, an invasion of Taiwan will be financial suicide, something Russia is starting to learn…

          1. o come on mods, is this Russia Today being modded?

      2. greasemonkey
        2nd March 2022, 18:46

        Also, maybe read up on the ostracism-aggression link in human nature. And how hate is inherent in that, and therefore in “Sent to Coventry”.

    39. Even if outright banned, Putin won’t be bothered. It’s not as if Mazepin was winning anything in F1 and bringing accolades and honour for the country.

    40. Russian people who have nothing wrong should be encouraged to actively dissent. Banning them gets the opposite result.

    41. Some have balls…
      FIA doesn’t…

      1. No balls are needed to follow the herd. Indiscriminate ban of individual Russians became totally trendy.

    42. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      3rd March 2022, 5:08

      Taking a stance is much better than doing nothing. If the world allows Putin to take Ukraine, which country is next? Taiwan, Poland, Japan?

      The world did nothing against Hitler initially and look how that turned out.

    43. Here is a proposed Win-Win Situation.

      Mazepin Sr should just buy Junior’s HAAS car and have it delivered to Russia. Jr can then race around tracks by himself.

      Win for HAAS – They can make some money by selling a Car off
      Win for F1 – They no longer have to put up with Mazespin.
      Win for Mazepin – If he is the only one on track, he might actually finish a race in front

    44. some racing fan
      4th March 2022, 4:37

      Meanwhile, over here in America no word yet on whether Russian drivers will be allowed to compete, I imagine not.

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