Oh, this is not good (for the FIA)

While the FIA World Council voted yesterday against following the international trend of banning Russian and Belarusian competitors from all international competitions, and trying to pursue a “neutral” policy, it is obviously not a view shared by all the member clubs (nor indeed all the members of the World Council). The British Motorsport UK, which is represented on the World Council by David Richards has now announced that Russian and Belarusian license holders are banned from racing in the UK. This means, for example, that Nikita Mazepin cannot race in the British Grand Prix, unless he changes his licence. If he cannot guarantee being able to race for Haas in all events, he is likely to have contractual problems with the team, although the terms of such contracts are not public information.

It will be interesting to see if other national clubs follow the British lead and go against the FIA policy.

“We stand united with the people of Ukraine and the motorsport community following the invasion and the unacceptable actions that have unfolded,” Richards said. “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 of Ukraine (FAU).”

Motorsport UK said its decision was made in full consultation with the British Government and national sports governing bodies.

If sufficient countries and member clubs follow the British lead, there could well be questions about whether the FIA is being led by the right people, which coming so soon after the December election could be very disruptive for the international federation.

“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 said. “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.”

59 thoughts on “Oh, this is not good (for the FIA)

  1. I think it’s also a really strange decision to allow Mazepin in particular to race under the flag of the FIA, as if they are happy for themselves to become team Russia for the forseeable future.

    1. Actually I think FIFA saw how the FIA ‘operated’ and thought – ‘Hey, we can probably get away with that too’ and used it as it’s role model!!
      Unfortunately for some of it’s senior officers they were a bit too obvious and blatant in their greed and got caught with their hands in the cookie jar!!

  2. I can’t help thinking that many organisations are only rushing to “do the right thing” because of the fear of what may become of them should they not…

    1. An absolutely ridiculous decision by the FIA.
      I hope more national bodies follow the British lead. I’ve nothing against Mazepin but Russians need to be punished for the actions of their gov’t.

      1. Why? You’re not punished for the actions of your govt or its illegal wars. British formulated sanctions killed 500,000 (half a million) children in Iraq and the British people recieved no punishment. You are in Syria, illegally, as we speak, aiding the US in stealing oil. You have military bases all over the middle east enabling despots who excecute women for witchcraft and adultary, anti democratic practices and torture (Bahrain, Qatar) You’re a massive hypocrite just like most English people. How the hell did Bahrain ever get a GP to start with and Qatar and Saudi Arabia. F1 is a joke where money means more than morals. Maybe its a lot simpler, most people in the UK are xenophobic and Russophobia is just an extention of that and middle eastern lives are cheap to you (2 million dead and 37 million displaced since 2003) Ukraine is run by fascists and Nazis which the British Army trains and arms, not something to be proud of. People in this country have lost their minds in some kind of hysteria manipulation. You know nothing of Ukraine or its history, check out the Azov Battalion, Right Sektor and the Aidar Battalion, just the pick of a very nasty bunch put into power by the West, mainly the US and UK, to enable their puppet regime to antogonise the Rusians on their borders. This has been going on 8 years, where have you and the British been all this time? 14000 people have been killed in the East of Ukraine (Donbass) 4000 civilians and 200 children but do we help them? If that isn’t enough check out Stepan Bandera the national hero of Ukraine who fought with the Waffen SS during WWII and was responsible for 10 of thousands of jewish Ukraines dying. No, your govt and your taxes pay for Nazis to be kept in power, I dont suppose your familiy members who fought against the Nazis would approve, mine certainly wouldn’t. You have been conned.

        1. Nazis, LOL, do you know anything about the Nazis? Perhaps if you did you would realize it is your man Putin that is following the despots playbook.

        2. If Mr Saward does not object? I have copied below a story from this morning’s “Guardian” about a US based news checking service.

          “Untrue claims about genocide and authorities in Kyiv supporting nazism are among the most common falsehoods pushed online amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict, according to analysis.

          NewsGuard, a US-based organisation monitoring the trustworthiness of news and information websites, said Russian state media sources are being joined by lesser known sites in pushing deceptive narratives.

          These are NewsGuard’s top 10 Russia-Ukraine “war myths” – followed by NewsGuard’s refutation:

          “Russian-speaking residents in the Donbas region of Ukraine have been subjected to genocide.” The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has found no evidence of this.

          “Polish-speaking saboteurs attempted to bomb a chlorine plant in Donbas.” The video of the “attack”, for which there is no evidence, was recorded days before it is alleged to have taken place.

          “Ukrainian forces bombed a kindergarten in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine, on 17 February 2022.” The shelling came from Russian-separatist frontlines.

          “Russia did not target civilian infrastructure in Ukraine at the start of invasion.” One day after the invasion, Amnesty International documented at least three Russian military attacks on civilian areas in Ukraine.

          “Nazism is rampant in Ukrainian politics and society, supported by authorities in Kyiv.” The candidate for the far-right nationalist party, Svoboda, won 1.6% of the vote in the 2019 presidential election.

          “The west staged a coup to overthrow the pro-Russia Ukrainian government in 2014.” There is no evidence supporting the theory that the 2014 Maidan revolution in Ukraine was a coup orchestrated by western countries.

          “The US has a network of bioweapons labs in eastern Europe.” The claims are based on a misrepresentation of the US Department of Defense’s Biological Threat Reduction Program.

          “Nato has a military base in Odesa, southern Ukraine.” Foreign military bases are not permitted in Ukraine.

          “Crimea joined Russia legally.” The UN Assembly declared a 2014 referendum that backed Crimea joining Russia was illegitimate.

          “Modern Ukraine was entirely created by communist Russia.” Russia and Ukraine’s shared heritage dates back more than 1,000 years.”

      2. I’m not sure that punishing the Russian populace for the actions of their dictator is for the best. If anything, it’ll just reinforce Mr Putin’s motives, further divide the world and prolong the war.

  3. When they say Russian/Belarusian “competitors”, does that just mean drivers, or would other team members (e.g. engineers and mechanics) be affected too?

    1. FIA F1 Regulations
      page 1 says
      “All the participating parties (FIA, ASNs, organisers, Competitors and circuits) undertake to apply as well as observe the rules governing the Championship and must hold FIA Super Licences which are issued to drivers, Competitors, officials, organisers and circuits.”
      From other parts of those relations it is (fairly) clear that Competitors = Teams.

  4. Thanks Joe. Seems like a sensible move. Not sure I fully understand why the FIA is under fire. They’ve given a clear steer, but left it to Teams and I guess each countries body. In F1 then lots of folk would be happy to see the back of Mazepin but elsewhere I would imagine lots of Russian motorsport participants who don’t agree with what’s going on are about to be excluded as well. What about Russian-born engineers in teams? Are we going to start firing/putting on leave all Russians in sports teams? Not sure we are punishing Putin but rather others. Mazepin given his father maybe a separate case.

    1. There is a whole generation of South African sports people in the coulda, woulda, shoulda bracket. Our world champion, Jody Scheckter was lucky that motorsport was an individual sport and was less sanctioned although it did not stop his brother Ian being refused entry into 🇯🇵in 1977.

      The lesson from history is ban every spors person and then we see how they look after their self interest and speak out or tow the line. South African cricketers were the worst affected and almost all have come and and said they should have spoken out

      Botha, Vorster, Putin, the difference is scale, although the first two caused far more direct deaths at this stage

  5. I have some sympathy with some of the self-made Russian sporting individuals who are caught up in this, but anything but utter isolation of Russia is diluting the pariah message.
    Nikita Mazepin does not fall into that category.
    His father is one of Putin’s (Yeltsin’s) corrupt Oligarchs and Mazepin is only where he is as a result of that.
    The question I would ask is “who of his competitors has the cojonas to stand up and refuse to share a sporting arena with this advert for Mother Russia?”

  6. DR seems to have reduced his support for Bin Sulayam rapidly. It was important in Bin Sulayem securing the presidency was it not?

  7. This is the sort of slithery/blinkered decision making that one expects from Olympic organisers but one might have hoped for a higher moral stance from the FIA. Obviously not.

    1. Ironically, it was the IOC which recommended to everyone to ban Russian and Belarussian athletes (yet they are allowing those participants in the Paralympics).

    2. I didn’t ever think I’d see a sentence containing both ‘FIA’ and ‘moral stance’ with one referring to the other!!

  8. Good Move by David Richards.
    People are dying in the Ukraine for their freedom. FIA needs to wake up and get a clue. If FIFA and UEFA can do it, then FIA can too

  9. My understanding is that the contract to host a race requires that all team personnel and accredited members of the media are allowed into a country and to participate in the event. If Mazepin is not allowed to compete, will the FIA and FOM be obliged to cancel the British GP? How long before other countries decided to ban team members that they don’t like? All pressure should be heaped on Russia for them to stop and get out of Ukraine, but Mazepin’s only connection is that he happens to be Russian. And he is not responsible for his father’s activities.

    1. No person is being banned because of dislike, this is what heaping pressure on looks like. All Russian citizens should be held accountable, just as all Ukrainians are paying for Russia’s crime.
      Mazepin is a grown man, he knows who Daddy is and how he got his money. Daddy’s money is the only reason he’s not on the end of a gun pointed at Ukraine.

    2. Hold on… “Mazepin isn’t responsible for his father’s actions”? Without his father’s actions, corruption, and hard cash, he’d be a million miles from F1. Also, without corrupt money, he would have lost his drive. He simply isn’t up to scratch, and has a history of reckless and dangerous driving. Perhaps if he wasn’t so unlikeable, you might feel some sympathy for him. His appearance at Haas, was grubby way before Ukraine.

    3. The innocent always suffer in these situations – but who’s suffering is worse?
      MAZ who cannot race in the UK because he is Russian or the Ukrainians who are watching their country be destroyed and their relatives killed?
      As already said, EVERY Russian must be held accountable for what is being done in their name by Putin. Yes, it’s hard on those that oppose him but not as hard as being Ukrainian!!

  10. Correct decision by DR and his team.
    Yes, it’ll cause a bit of inconvenience to quite a few people, and it’s unfortunate for those Russian citizens seriously affected ( eg Mazepin), but mass murder is being perpetrated by their country’s leaders and frankly anything less reeks of appeasement.

  11. While it is unfortunate Russian athletes are getting caught up in this, whatever pressure can be brought against Putin and Russia has to be used.

    As a Canadian I hope our federation takes the same stand.

  12. The FIA are continually dropping the ball, doing a fantastic job of appearing to only interested in filling its communal coffers. Be that (seemingly) selling the sport for dirty money or making a farce out of racing whilst trying (and failing) to set up a spectacle at the end of last season.

    After following the sport since the mid 70’s I really am finding hard to drum up any enthusiasm for the 2022 season. RIP any sense of sport in F1.

    Thank you FIA

  13. A very bad decision. I’m a cyclist and Russians are OUT of cycling. Russia should be OUT of motor racing as well. Dave Richards is right.

  14. Joe. This is a dreadful decision and I believe it will come under close scrutiny from the other teams.
    Is the new FIA leadership – like the UAE – too close to Russia.

  15. I don’t necessarily disagree with the idea of banning Russian athletes and teams, but isn’t the FIA supposed to be apolitical? How do calls for them to ban athletes based on political factors gel with that?

    1. I thought that the FIA decision was taken by the World Council though I assume MBS also voted as President..

  16. No doubt you have to be more diplomatic than me, but with innocent people being killed in large numbers by a despot and his henchmen from what still claims to be a democracy, now is not the time for pussyfooting around to humour the feelings of a few “athletes” and a few more others who will be hit in the pocket.
    Saudi Arabia has thus far refused to increase oil production and the neighbouring countries are preserving their one sided neutrality and it would be difficult not to conclude that the FIA is adopting far too sanguine a stance.
    We must, all of us, that cannot be directly involved do everything in our power to bring this monstrosity to an end. Sebastian Vettel set the tone for what our sport should do, let those sitting on their hands follow suit.

  17. As you know I frequently play devils advocate, but just a thought.
    Well as has been mentioned several in parliament today during PMQs it is Putin and his cronies and not the Russian people who are the aggressors. There are reports that many of the invading soldiers mostly conscripts, were told that they were on a training exercise, or the Ukrainians would welcome them with open arms, or that the country was run by Nazis and they were rescuing the Ukrainian people from oppression.
    While at the same time there have been violently suppressed demonstrations in Moscow against the invasion. (Which Putin is apparently describing as an internal Ukrainian uprising with all the shelling and missile strikes being carried out by one Ukrainian faction or another. Russia being the saviour to oust the Nazis. Incidentally he may open a passage to the Black Sea!
    Thus my point is that whilst obviously Russia must be condemned and sanctioned, its vast population has very little idea of what is happening or why, so perhaps it shows a deeper understanding to let Russia sportspeople continue in international competition.

    Apart from that I cannot wait for our ex Special forces group to get stuck in and sort out that 4 mile convoy just sitting there like ducks. However of course again they are mostly conscripts who would rather be at home. (Poski and the PPA spring to mind)

    1. What a crazy argument, devil !
      Everything possible, and I mean everything, must be done to stop this madness.

    2. I’ll be your Devil’s advocate. 🙂

      Though, I understand what you are saying, consider this. Putin loves to show off Russia on the world stage. Whether that be military might, sports, art, culture, chess. Take that away from him, and it hits him.

      Plus, the world is attempting to make Russia a complete pariah state, 100% cutoff from the world, The only way to achieve that is to do just that — cut them off 100% from any world activity — travel, sport, entertainment, shipping, etc.

    1. I dumped Kaspersky after the 2016 US elections and what Putin was doing. I imagined Kaspersky’s president receiving a “polite” request from one of Putin’s henchmen to obtain all records of foreign customers. What’s this guy going to answer? Tell Putin to get lost?

      The Billionaire Fathers’ Club might be losing one of its members.

  18. Seems much like FIFA / UEFA, initially going ‘soft’ with something quite similar, then having to catchup to individual nations refusing to play Russian teams.

    I suppose if they are ‘worried’ about irking the Russians, it’ll be a lot easier for them to firm up a global ban largely instigated at a national level instead of leading from the front, but as you note, Joe, sitting on the fence is seldom a good look.

    I mean, as it stands, Russian drivers, staff etc are going to struggle to travel, struggle to be paid or pay for their seats, their sponsors either sanctioned or banished from the global payment system. They’re functionally banned already without jumping through a few pretty major hoops. I do have some sympathy for some caught up in this, but certainly not those intimately connected to the inner circle of Putin’s regime.

  19. of course UAE is very much an outlier in terms of the international response, because Yemen…

    the whole situation is unrelentingly nauseating

  20. If you are a Russian, then you are a Russian. If sanctions, war, or whatever, are brought against your country, then they are brought against you as part of the country. Your options are to get new leadership in your country or give your country up. Why should it make a difference if you are a “sportsman”?

  21. No doubt every European country, and probably North America, will do the same thing. Forcing the FIA either to change their minds or cancel the entire Formula 1 season, if the FIA insists individual countries can’t block certain licenses.

  22. Thought Mohammed ben Sulayem had done ok – till now. 👍🏻 for Uk / Richards – but British motor press has been pretty lame till this bloggpost apeared…

  23. It will be interesting to see which other sports ban all Russian participants. One area when the only ban is not playing under the Russian flag is Chess. The second leg of the FIDE Grand Prix is underway in belgrade and 5 out of the 16 players are Russian. The Candidates Tournament takes place in Madrid later this year and at least two out of the 8 players will be Russian so possibly a Russian could be the next chess word champion in 2023. Ironically a former world chess champiuon Gary Kasparov tried to stand against Putin in 2004. He was roughed up and got a few weeks in jail for his trouble. He left Russia for the USA soon after probably in fear of his life. Probably wise in view of waht happened to journalist Anna Politkovskaya two years later. Fighting putin from within is close to impossible.

  24. I am fully in agreement with the FIA’s decision. To show their opposition to what Russia has done, the FIA has cancelled the race in Russia. That’s fair! But banning someone for what his country’s leader has done is propagandist and immature. David Richards and others are just acting on the general anti-Russia feeling that the West has always been propagating ever since the Cold War.

    I’m fully against Putin’s actions. But how will banning Russian drivers cripple him or make him repent of his actions for a better tomorrow? Hypocrisy is what David Richards practiced, and perhaps other governing bodies as well. I’m glad that the FIA is showing it’s no hypocrite.

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