Formula One has cancelled the 2022 Russian Grand Prix and expressed ‘sadness and shock’ over the invasion of Ukraine.
In a statement, the sport’s bosses said: “The FIA Formula One 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 for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation.
“On Thursday evening Formula One, 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.”
The race in Sochi was due to take place on 25 September.
F1 acted after chief executive Stefano Domenicali chaired an emergency meeting with the FIA governing body and the sport’s team bosses on Thursday night.
It is unclear at this stage if the race will be replaced, but the Istanbul Park track in Turkey has been put forward as a possible alternative location.
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel had earlier threatened to boycott the Russian race and described Vladimir Putin’s regime as “mad”.
US-owned F1 team Haas ran their car in testing in Barcelona on Friday in all-white livery, after removing all branding representing title sponsor and Russian potash producer Uralkali.
Team principal Guenther Steiner acknowledged the team’s Russian driver Nikita Mazepin, whose father owns Uralkali, faces an uncertain future.
It comes as UEFA moved the Champions League final to Paris following the invasion.
The final was set to be played at the Gazprom Arena in the Russian city of St Petersburg on 28 May, but has been moved to the Stade de France in Paris instead.
The decision to move the football showpiece event was made at an emergency meeting of European football’s governing body today.
European football’s governing body said: “The UEFA executive committee today held an extraordinary meeting following the grave escalation of the security situation in Europe.”
It confirmed the executive committee had decided to relocate the final to Paris. “The game will be played as initially scheduled on Saturday 28 May at 9pm CET,” it said.
“UEFA wishes to express its thanks and appreciation to French Republic President Emmanuel Macron for his personal support and commitment to have European club football’s most prestigious game moved to France at a time of unparalleled crisis.”
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UEFA continued: “Together with the French government, UEFA will fully support multi-stakeholder efforts to ensure the provision of rescue for football players and their families in Ukraine who face dire human suffering, destruction and displacement.”
It also said that the home games of Ukrainian and Russian club and national teams competing in UEFA competitions will be played at neutral venues “until further notice”.
Manchester United also ended their sponsorship deal with Aeroflot on Friday following the conflict in Ukraine.
The Red Devils held a partnership with the Russian airline since 2013, and have regularly used the company’s aircraft to fly to European matches.
A club spokesperson said: “In light of events in Ukraine, we have withdrawn Aeroflot’s sponsorship rights.
“We share the concerns of our fans around the world and extend our sympathies to those affected.”
Russia and Ukraine were also both scheduled to play World Cup play-off matches in March, but FIFA said the situation between them would be monitored.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino recently said the governing body has “a duty to look into the footballing consequences of what is happening”.
He said: “FIFA condemns the use of force by Russia in Ukraine and any type of violence to resolve conflicts. Violence is never a solution and FIFA calls on all parties to restore peace through constructive dialogue.”
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