The FIA has decided to allow Russian and Belarusian drivers to compete under an FIA flag despite the IOC’s calls to ban participants from those nations from international competitions.
The IOC’s recommendation, which came in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, was discussed in an emergency meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on Tuesday, and had the FIA followed it, numerous drivers would have been prevented from racing. The most high-profile of those is Haas F1’s Nikita Mazepin, but such a ban would also have impacted drivers in multiple other categories, so the FIA has opted to allow them to continue competing in a “neutral capacity”.
“Russian/Belarusian drivers, individual competitors and officials to participate in international/zone competitions only in their neutral capacity and under the “FIA flag”, subject to specific commitment and adherence to the FIA’s principles of peace and political neutrality, until further notice,” an FIA statement read.
Further confirmations from the meeting include the decision that no international/zone competitions will take place in Russia and Belarus until further notice – reinforcing the cancellation of the Russian Grand Prix this year – and that no Russian or Belarusian national teams will be allowed to participate in competitions.
National symbols, colors and flags are also prohibited on uniforms, equipment and cars until further notice, and the Russian and Belarusian national anthems will not be played either.
“As you know, the FIA is watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock and I hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation,” FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said. “We condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and our thoughts are with all those suffering as a result of the events in Ukraine.
“I would like to stress that the FIA, together with our promoters, proactively acted on this matter last week and communicated accordingly on the Formula 1, Formula 2, WTCR and the International Drifting Cup. An updated version of the different FIA International Calendars will be presented to the WMSC meeting in Bahrain for approval.”
Following the announcements, a Haas spokesperson said: “At this time we decline to comment.”