The FIA has decided: Russian drivers on track but as neutral athletes

Columns: News and Previews
Today, 1 March 2022, the World Motor Sport Council met to discuss the situation between Russia and Ukraine and the latter's request for sanctions. Russian drivers will take to the track but as neutral athletes.

One of the most eagerly awaited decisions for Mohammed Ben Sulayem and one of his first as a new FIA president. As reported in the official press release, the new FIA summit expressed sadness and shock at the current solution, hoping for a resolution. The FIA also condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and turned its thoughts to all those suffering as a result of the events. 

In addition to the confirmation of the cancellation of the Formula 1, Formula 2, WTCR and International Drifting Cup events in Russia, other directives have been released, which are as follows. 

Drivers, competitors and officials
- No Russian/Belarusian national teams will participate in international/area competitions (e.g. FIA Motorsport Games), until further notice.
- Russian/Belarusian drivers, individual competitors and officials shall participate in international/zone competitions only in a neutral capacity and under the "FIA flag", subject to specific commitment and adherence to the FIA principles of peace and political neutrality, until further notice.
- No Russian/Belarusian national symbols, colours, flags (uniforms, equipment and cars) are to be displayed or anthems are to be played in international/zone competitions, until further notice.

Competitions organised on the territory of Russia and Belarus
- No international/zone competitions will be held in Russia and Belarus, until further notice. 
- No flags/symbols or anthems of Russia/Belarus will be used in international/zone competitions until further notice.

Danger averted for Russian pilots, who had been anxiously awaiting decisions that could have instead completely ousted them from international competitions. According to the new directives, in fact, they will carry on with what had already been foreseen regarding logos, flags and anthems, which had already been eliminated previously. The acronym 'RAF', however, will no longer be used, a significant change that will in fact 'erase' the Russian nation from the acts (also as an acronym) until further notice. Other directives include the decision not to award any new or existing grants to Russian/Belarusian FIA members until further notice.

The impact in the world of karting will take place from the next races for all drivers on the entry list (one of the nations most involved in the international movement). A different discourse and one to be clarified instead for the Russian teams, which should remain excluded. 

In addition to the question of Nikita Mazepin, for now confirmed by Haas in F1, in the afternoon one of the last Russian drivers in the top series, Daniil Kyvat, expressed his opinion on the matter. The former Red Bull driver had appealed to the world of sport and the international federations, saying that sport and athletes should stay away from politics and to exclude them from their disciplines would be unfair, unjust and far from the values of peace and equality that sport promotes. 

This decision is in line with all the other changes that have taken place in recent days, which have cancelled all the sporting competitions organised in Russia, from the F1 GP to the Champions League final and the World Chess Championship. Even FIFA today made official the exclusion of the Russian national football team from the next World Championships in Qatar, extending the exclusion to Russian teams attending international trophies. It is also worth noting the recommendation of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) to exclude Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from international competitions. Russian basketball teams have also been excluded from Euroleague and Eurocup competitions, while tennis tournaments on Russian soil, artistic gymnastics, rugby and the Ski World Cup have also been cancelled. 

S.C.

Created by: scorradengo - 01/03/22

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