Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has absolutely dominated global affairs and, as a result, motorsport has been heavily affected. In response to everything that’s going on, the World Motorsport Council (WMSC) held an extraordinary meeting on 1 March 2022. The result of this is that “emergency measures” have been enacted by the FIA in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The FIA has decided that no “international/zone competition” will be allowed to take place in Russia and Belarus until further notice. No flags or symbols representing either country will be allowed to be used in international competitions either and the national anthems of both countries will not be allowed to be played as well. This includes the display of Russian or Belarusian national symbols on any uniforms, team equipment or cars at any FIA-sanctioned races.
When it comes to drivers, competitors and officials, the FIA has stated that no Russian or Belarusian teams will be allowed to compete in international competitions until further notice. Russian and Belarusian drivers, individual competitors and officials will only be allowed to take part in internationally-sanctioned events as Authorised Neutral Drivers (ANDs), Authorised Neutral Competitors (ANCs) or Authorised Neutral Officials (ANOs) until further notice, subject to “specific commitment and adherence to the FIA’s principles of peace and political neutrality“. This will apply to any driver who is of Russian and/or Belarusian nationality and to drivers of any nationality who are “competing under the Russian or Belarusian ASN.” Any Russian and/or Belarusian driver who doesn’t sign a declaration that they’ll adhere by the FIA’s directives, they will “not be allowed to participate in any international/zone competitions.“
These new measures came into force immediately on 1 March 2022 and, according to the FIA, “will remain in force until further notice.” The FIA has also stated that it “continues to carefully monitor the events in Ukraine and reserves the right to take any further actions or implement further measures in the future, including any necessary actions required to comply with its obligations under any applicable sanctions regime and/or any contracts to which the FIA is a party.” This means that the FIA will fully comply with individual nations’ stances on Russian and Belarusian drivers, such as the decision made in the UK to ban them from competing entirely until further notice.
What will these new measures affect? Well, it will affect not only several drivers currently involved in motorsport, but also several teams. The team that’s been most in the public eye over this is the Uralkali Haas F1 Team, which reportedly will be dropping Nikita Mazepin and its title sponsor Uralkali (where Mazepin’s father Dimitry sits as a member of the board) over these new rules and the ever-growing economic sanctions against Russia. Uralkali has already handed back its shares in Hitech GP to team boss Oliver Oakes as a result of the economic sanctions on Russian businesses. W Series driver Ira Sidorkova‘s future is also uncertain (she was unable to properly take part in the W Series tests in Spain), as is former F2 driver Robert Shwartzman‘s. The sports car racing team G-Drive’s future is also uncertain, as it’s owned by the Russian company Gazprom and features a Russian driver (former Red Bull and Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kyvat) in its driver lineup for this year.