LONDON — Formula One has terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix following the country’s invasion of Ukraine, saying Thursday that Russia “will not have a race” in the future.
F1 already canceled this year’s race, which had been scheduled to be held in Sochi on Sept. 25. But following further discussions this week, F1 went a step further and ended a contract which ran until 2025.
“Formula 1 can confirm it has terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix,” F1 said in a statement. “Russia will not have a race in the future.”
Four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel and other drivers said last week they would not have raced in Russia even if F1 had decided to go there.
“I woke up to this morning’s news shocked,” Vettel, 34, said during preseason testing in Barcelona. “I think it’s horrible to see what is happening. Obviously, if you look at the calendar we have a race scheduled in Russia.
“My own opinion is I should not go, I will not go,” he said. “I think it’s wrong to race in the country. I’m sorry for the innocent people that are losing their lives, that are getting killed (for) stupid reasons and a very strange and mad leadership. I’m sure it’s something we’ll talk about. “But personally I’m shocked and sad to see what’s going on, so we will see going forward but I think my decision is already made.”
World champion Max Verstappen agreed with Vettel but stopped short of saying he’d pull out.
“I think when a country is at war it’s not correct to race there, that’s for sure,” Verstappen said. “But it’s not only what I think, it’s the whole paddock (that is) going to decide what we are going to do next.”
Said two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso: “We can make our own decisions for sure but eventually I think Formula One will do the best (thing).”