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Russian race car drivers must condemn invasion of Ukraine to compete in 2022, FIA says

Drivers cannot compete under Russian flag
Nikita Mazepin
Posted at 12:33 PM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-04 12:49:45-05

The FIA, the governing body that regulates Formula 1 and several other international auto racing circuits, announced Friday that all drivers from Russia and Belarus could participate in races this season only if they sign a document condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The documents posted to the FIA's website require drivers to officially "acknowledge the strong commitment made by the FIA to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine."

The document also says drivers will not be able to race under the flags of Russia or Belarus. Instead, they will be required to race in an "individual and neutral capacity."

That neutrality also extends to social media, equipment, clothing and personal items. Drivers from Russia and Belarus must agree not to display the flags or names of Russia or Belarus in any capacity.

The announcement opens the door for Russian driver Nikita Mazepin to compete in Formula 1 in 2022. Mazepin was slated to drive for Haas F1 Team, but the events of the last two weeks have put his status in doubt.

Mazepin's father, Dmitry, is a wealthy Russian business owner who is alleged to have close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. His company, Uralkali, is a major funder of the Haas team and paid for prominent advertising on Haas cars.

However, on Friday, Haas ran plain white cars without Uralkali logos during preseason testing in Barcelona last week, calling into question whether Haas would field a car for Mazepin if they chose to reject Uralkali funding.

Mazepin also did not attend media availability in Barcelona last Thursday and Friday.

"There are no guarantees anywhere. There are governments (involved) and I have no idea what is coming from that side," Haas team principal Guenther Steiner told The Associated Press last week. "He puts a tough face on it. For sure it bothers him because it's his own country."

Formula 1 has already canceled the 2022 Russian Grand Prix and all other future races in Russia in response to the country's invasion of Ukraine.

Mazepin, 22, made his Formula 1 debut with Haas in 2021. He did not record any driver points, placing a season-high 14th in Azerbaijan failing to finish five races.