The 2022 Russian Grand Prix has been cancelled following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this week. The decision has been made following a late-night meeting between the F1 teams, FIA and Formula 1 itself to discuss the situation.
Pressure had come from some teams as well as several vocal drivers including current F1 champion Max Verstappen and four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, who went as far as to say he would not go to the Russian GP even if it was held.
On Thursday evening (24th February) F1 teams met with Formula 1 and the FIA to discuss the situation and it was decided that it would be “impossible” to hold the Grand Prix Russia in the current situation. No announcement has been made as to whether it will be replaced with a new event. Several options will be available to F1 including holding a second race at a current venue or adding a new round in at a new track.
In the disrupted 2020 and 2021 seasons tracks that stepped in at the last minute included Imola, Mugello, Portimao and Istanbul Park, with Silverstone and the Red Bull Ring both holding double header rounds in 2020 and Austria repeating in 2021.
Imola already has a place on the 2022 calendar, but Portimao is likely to be able to step in at short notice if needed. Istanbul may be in too close proximity to the fighting in the Black Sea, but has been able to step in before.
In a statement released today (25th February) F1 said: “The FIA Formula 1 World Championship visits countries all over the world with a positive vision to unite people, bringing nations together.
“We are watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock and hope fora. 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.”
No statement was available from the organisers of the Grand Prix in Sochi when this article was published.
Images courtesy of Motorsport Images.
Update: Race promoter Rosgonki insists event could still go ahead
Updated 17:30 Friday 25th February 2022. The promotor of the Russian Grand Prix (Rosgonki) has confirmed that the contract to hold the F1 race in Sochi has been suspended, but claimed that there is still scope for the event to take place and that it had been suspended and “not cancelled”.
Asking fans not to ask for refunds a statement from the company said: "According to the official statement released by Formula 1 on 25/02/2022, due to the current political situation in the world, the FIA has decided to suspend preparations for the Formula 1 World Championship round in Russia previously scheduled to be held in Sochi in September 2022 because it is impossible to hold it in the current circumstances.
"The agreement between the official Russian Grand Prix promoter ANO 'ROSGONKI' and Formula 1 is suspended due to force majeure events.
"The purchased tickets are not cancelled – there is no need to get refunds for them now because it is still possible that the round will take place and will be held as previously scheduled.
"ANO 'ROSGONKI' continues its business as usual providing services to the Sochi Autodrom guests, as well as organising and holding motorsport and other events of the federal, regional and municipal level as part of the event calendar approved."
Update: F1 terminates Russian GP event contract
Updated 11:30 Thursday 3rd March 2022. F1 has announced it has terminated its contract with the organisers of the Russian Grand Prix, meaning that not only is this year’s race cancelled but all future races have been called off.
The contract, with promotor Rosgonki, has been terminated by F1, despite the race organisers claiming that the race had only been suspended and may still go ahead.
A statement from F1 said: “Formula 1 can confirm it has terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix promoter meaning Russia will not have a race in the future.”
The event had been due to move from Sochi to St. Petersburg with the Igora Drive circuit in 2023.