F1 2022: Sebastian Vettel, ‘I will not go’, Russian Grand Prix axed by F1, Haas white livery, Nikita Mazepin

F1 drivers and teams have hit back at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel led the charge.

The F1 has called off the Russian Grand Prix just a day after it said it would “monitor the situation closely” as teams and drivers have come out strongly against Russia.

As Russian forces continued to advance through Ukraine the F1 initially refused to be drawn into talk of whether September’s Russian Grand Prix would be relocated.

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The Express also reported that ticket sales had been temporarily halted for the event but were restored after a crisis meeting with team bosses on Thursday afternoon.

But on Friday, the F1 confirmed the Russian Grand Prix would not go ahead.

“The FIA ​​Formula 1 World Championship visits countries all over the world with a positive vision to unite people, bringing nations together,” the statement reads.

“We are watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock and hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation.

“On Thursday evening Formula 1, the FIA, and the teams discussed the position of our sport, and the conclusion is, including the view of all relevant stakeholders, that it is impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix in the current circumstances.”

The decision comes as Russian backed teams Haas came out strongly, while two world champs threatened to boycott the event..

On the third and final day of testing in Barcelona, ​​Haas, which usually has the colors of the Russian flag for its sponsor Uralkali presented a plain white car for Friday’s session.

The Haas cars are generally blue, white and red said via a statement it would “present its VF-22 in a plain white livery, without the Uralkali branding, for the third and final day of testing”.

Questions have also been raised about Ferrari sponsor Kaspersky, the cybersecurity firm which was founded in Russia and accused of ties with the Russian government in the past, most notably by former US President Donald Trump, who banned the softward from US government computers in 2017.

As for their Russian driver, Nikita Mazepin, he drove in the morning session.

Mazepin was later pulled from Friday’s press conference after the first session and team principal Gunther Steiner fronted media.

He said he would work though issues involving both Mazepin and Uralkali which he said he will “work on” in the “next week”.

“There are legal issues we have to go through and then we see what comes out,” he said via the BBC’s Andrew Benson.

He also couldn’t confirm Mazepin’s future with the team.

“It needs to be resolved. There are governments involved and I have no power over them and we need to see how the situation develops in Ukraine,” Steiner said.

“The team are not affected by this. I spoke to them yesterday and told them there is nothing to worry about. We took the right decision to send a message to everyone.”

Uralkali, a group specializing in potash, has the driver’s father, businessman Dmitry Mazepin, as his non-executive director.

If the F1 didn’t make the decision to cancel, it may have been forced to carry on without two of the sport’s biggest drawcards.

Four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel said he wouldn’t be racing at the event.

“In my personal opinion, I woke up to this morning’s news, shocked,” Vettel said.

“I think it’s horrible to see what is happening. Obviously if you look at the calendar we have a race scheduled in Russia. For myself, my own opinion is I should not go, I will not go. I think it’s wrong to race in the country.

“I’m sorry for the people, innocent people that are losing their lives, that are getting killed for stupid reasons and a very, very strange and mad leadership.

“I’m sure it’s something that we will talk about, but personally I’m just so shocked and sad to see what is going on.

“So we will see going forward, but I think my decision is already made.”

Similarly, defending champion Max Verstappen didn’t agree with competing in Russia.

“When a country is at war, it’s not right to run there, that’s for sure,” Verstappen said.

“But what matters is not what I think, it’s the whole paddock that will decide.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also called for the Russian Grand Prix to be relocated, taking to Twitter to write: “All international sporting events in Russia should have their authorizations withdrawn from all international sporting bodies – this includes the F1 Grand Prix in Sochi”.

Ex-Top Gear host trashed Mazepin comments

Speaking earlier in the testing period, Mazepin said “of course” the race would stay in Russia.

“From the understanding we’ve had with Formula 1, the race is going ahead and you will surely see me there,” Mazepin said.

“I’m not struggling at all because I’ve always been a big supporter of sports without politics. Today I’m in Barcelona. I cannot tell you the excitement of driving the new car and the excitement of actually being involved and developing this new car, and actually from seeing the pictures for a year and then seeing it in physical carbon copy of the pictures is great.

“I’m just very happy to be in Barcelona and I hope these three days are longer because it’s a nice experience.”

The statement was lashed by former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson who wrote: “Nikita Mazepin. You f***ing r*****. Go and race in Russia on your own. You’d still lose.”

Followers bumped on the use of the R-word but he doubled down on it after a reader said: “Many many words that you could have chosen that would have been fine but that one word ruins this statement. why? Is there any need?”

Clarkson replied: “Nope. I think I got it right”.

He also agreed with a fan who said it was time to kick Mazepin out of F1.

Mazepin has been a controversial figure since coming into F1.

It was no secret that he was signed at least partially due to his father being a billionaire and the team signing him while looking for “drivers with financial backing”, but he was quickly embroiled in a scandal when he groped the breasts of a young woman .

His driving ability also came into question as he crashed on his first lap in the F1, and had several run ins with the Schumachers, including teammate Mick.

Mazepin’s father Dmitry was reportly at the Kremlin on Thursday on the invite of Russian president Vladimir Putin among a group of Russian businessmen to discuss NATO sanctions.

with AFP

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