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FIA to Allow Russian Drivers to Compete Amid Ukraine Invasion

FIA to allow Russian drivers to compete amid Ukraine invasion…

Photo: MPS Agency

The FIA has ruled that Russian drivers will be eligible to compete in international championships but racing under “neutral capacity” and prohibited from utilizing the Russian flag.

Approved during an emergency World Motor Sport Council meeting held on Tuesday, the decision will permit drivers such as Daniil Kvyat and Roman Rusinov (World Endurance Championship) as well as Timur Boguslavskiy (GT World Challenge Europe) to race but under the “FIA flag.”

It is subject to “specific commitment and adherence to the FIA’s principles of peace and political neutrality” until further notice.

The same policy, enacted amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, also applies to Belarusian drivers.

“No Russian/Belarusian national symbols, colors, flags (uniform, equipment and car)- should be displayed or anthems should be played at international/zone competitions,” an FIA statement read.

The FIA’s ruling is not entirely consistent with the International Olympic Committee’s recommendation, which has banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from selected sporting events. 

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “I want to thank the Council members for their prompt action in deciding these measures in the interests of sport and peace.

“We stand in solidarity with Leonid Kostyuchenko, the President of the Federation Automobile d’Ukraine (FAU) and the wider FIA family in the country.

“The measures taken today recognize the authority of the FAU in Ukraine and are also aligned with the recommendations recently made by the International Olympic Committee.

“We are in active discussions with our members as we continue to extend our compassion and support in their time of need. We sincerely hope for a peaceful resolution to their intolerable hardship.”

Russian and Belarusian drivers, however, will be prohibited from competing as “national teams” in international competitions, such as the FIA Motorsport Games, which is due to race in Marseille later this year.

Additionally, all international races in Russia and Belarus have been suspended until further notice.

This does not impact any major sports car racing series, with Formula 1 and the FIA WTCR two of the highest-profile championships to have canceled races.

There is no word whether Tuesday’s ruling will have any affect on G-Drive Racing’s efforts in the WEC, European Le Mans Series and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this year.

While not utilizing Russian colors on the car, G-Drive is a subsidiary of the state-owned Gazprom, which has been hit by sanctions from the U.S., among other countries.

Messages to Rusinov, who manages G-Drive’s racing program, have gone unanswered.

The FIA’s decision is believed to have been the reason for the postponement of the 24 Hours of Le Mans entry list, with several drivers and teams having initially been in question.

“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,” Ben Sulayem added.

“We condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and our thoughts are with all those suffering as a result of the events in Ukraine.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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