SMP Racing say they are ‘risking failure’ after the bank accounts of European Representative Office of non-commercial organisation SMP Racing were blocked following recent events in Ukraine.
The Russian team, who are due to race in the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series this season, released statement this morning, saying: “SMP Racing considers unacceptable escalation of sanctions imposed by European Union and USA against some of Russian businessmen beyond political and economic areas. SMP Racing does not have any relation to Ukrainian events and does not have any political or economic goals. In this regard usage of sport by European Union and U.S. Department of State as an instrument of political blackmail is a surprise and disappointment.
“At the moment bank accounts of European Representative Office of non-commercial organization SMP Racing are blocked. Participation of Russian drivers in largest European Championships like the World Endurance Championship (WEC), European Le Mans Series (ELMS), execution of international projects in autosport, propaganda of road traffic safety and others are at risk of failure.”
SMP’s Sporting director, Sergey Zlobin, also commented on the situation, saying: “Usage of sport as an instrument of political battle never leads to effective settlement of political issues. Speculations taken by leaders of the USA and European Union just harm millions of fans all over the World and destroy all positive changes reached in sport cooperation with our European colleagues. We receive words of support from famous sport activists and drivers. I hope that Europe will remember the Olympic Charter and except sport from instruments of political battle”
“SMP Racing expresses concern of speculation of sport and hopes that responsible authorities of European Union, leaders of the United States of America will change their decision on the sanctions and stop the usage of sport as an instrument of political blackmail.
“We demand immediate exception of non-commercial organizations and their activities from the list of sanctions taken against Russia. We remind that right to go in for sport is the inalienable right of every human as declared by Olympic Charter and we ask Europe and USA to hear the voice of reason by lifting restrictions of participation of Russian sportsmen in International competitions.”
The team are due to make their début in the WEC at Silverstone next weekend in LMP2 with drivers Zlobin, Nicolas Minassian, Maurizio Mediani, Kirill Ladygin,Viktor Shaitar and Anton Ladygin.