Formula One has pulled its race from Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine, saying on Friday that it would be “impossible” to hold the race in Sochi under the current circumstances.
Following the recent developments in Ukraine, Formula One has given in to international pressure to cancel the Russian Grand Prix. This development leaves a spare slot in the 2022 schedule, as the Sochi race was scheduled for 25 September.
The search is on for a replacement as the unanimous agreement to axe the event is leaving F1 with a £40m hole in its budget.
Experts believe that Doha is high on a preliminary list of contenders as the capital held its inaugural F1 event last year and is due to return in 2023. The return may be happening sooner than expected.
The FIFA 2022 World Cup host, however, is not alone on the list of potential replacements, as Istanbul and Bahrain are also being eyed to fill the gap.
Shortly after the start of the invasion, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel stated he would not attend the Russian Grand Prix if it went ahead as planned in Sochi in September.
“(Our) conclusion, including the view of all relevant stakeholders, is that it is impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix in the current circumstances,” read an F1 statement.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine drew other punitive measures in the sporting world, with UEFA stripping St. Petersburg of hosting the Champions League final on 28 May, replacing it with the Stade de France outside of Paris.
The Swedish and Polish national teams have also both announced that they will not be playing Russia in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers next month in protest of Puntin’s full-scale military invasion of Ukraine.