As concerns about the planned Russian Grand Prix continue to grow, Formula 1 teams have said that they will follow the FIA’s guidelines and lead for the race in October.
The first Russian GP in 100 years is set to take place on October 12th at the Sochi International Street Circuit, which has been built around the Winter Olympics complex in the city. However, following the Crimean crisis and the recent MH17 disaster, there have been some concerns about the viability of the race.
Bernie Ecclestone has said that he sees no reason why the race should not go ahead, as have the organizers in Sochi. When asked about the matter in a press conference yesterday, the team principals said that they would follow the stance taken by the sport’s governing body, the FIA.
“Obviously what’s going on in Russia and that part of the world at the moment is of huge concern to everybody,” Claire Williams of Williams Martini Racing said. “But we’ve always said as a sport we try to disengage from taking a political angle on these things.
“Here the FIA is the governing body of our sport, they issue a calendar and we have to take our direction from them and at the moment, the race is still on the calendar.”
Her sentiments were echoed by Force India team owner Vijay Mallya and Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn.
“Well something similar occurred in Bahrain and we followed the FIA’s directive or recommendation,” Mallya said. “I think I agree with Claire. It’s up to the FIA to guide us and we all follow what the FIA guidance is.”
“I absolutely agree with that,” Kaltenborn added. “We have to rely on the governing body and commercial rights holder. They’re the ones who have the responsibility and we will do as they say, like we’ve done in the past.”
The most recent cancellation of a grand prix came in 2011 when trouble in Bahrain flared up. The decision was taken by the FIA to cancel the event, and this was followed by the teams. In 2012, the race went ahead despite lingering concerns, but it was the FIA’s call to make; it appeared to be the correct one as the race went ahead with few problems.