Formula One says it is 'impossible' to host race in Russia this season

Russian Grand Prix had been scheduled for September 25

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Formula One has stated that it will not be possible to schedule a race in Russia under the prevailing circumstances.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has forced governing bodies of various sports to rework their plans for the year.

European football's governing body Uefa earlier decided to move the Champions League final from St Petersburg to Paris, while home games of Ukrainian and Russian club and national teams competing in Uefa competitions will be played at neutral venues "until further notice".

The Russian Grand Prix had been scheduled for September 25, but Formula One said Sochi won't be part of the calendar.

“We are watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock and hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation,” F1 said in a statement. “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.”

Four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel had said on Thursday he will not race in Russia, while reigning champion Max Verstappen offered his support to Vettel while not revealing whether he would skip the event.

The cancellation of the Russian GP brings Formula One's calendar back down to 22 races from a planned record 23-round schedule.

But the sport, which pulled off 17 races in the pandemic-hit 2020 season and held 22 races last year, has options it can pick to fill the spot vacated by Russia, after a number of venues held races as Covid-19 stand-ins over the last two seasons.

F1 acted after CEO Stefano Domenicali chaired a crisis summit with its governing body, the FIA, and the sport's team bosses on Thursday night.

It is unclear at this stage if the race will be replaced, but Turkey's Istanbul Park has been mooted as a contender to fill the now vacant slot on the calendar.

This was due to be the last Russian Grand Prix in Sochi which has hosted the grand prix since 2014. The race is due to move to Saint Petersburg next year.

Updated: February 25, 2022, 1:02 PM
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