Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Formula 1 teams will gather this evening to debate whether the Russian Grand Prix should take place as planned in September.
F1 team bosses will meet on Thursday evening, once day two of the Barcelona test is completed, to examine the escalating situation in Ukraine and whether the Russian Grand Prix will take place as planned, according to Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto.
The Ferrari boss confirmed the news following Sebastian Vettel’s plea for F1 to cancel the event after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his military to move into the Eastern European country overnight launching a military assault.
Speaking in an FIA press conference at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya today, Mattia Binotto said: “it’s an awful situation, I think it’s very sad.”
“At the moment what we can do is only to wait and see and hope for the better,” he continued. “From now until the race in September, there is time and my wish is that somehow everything will stop very soon.”
“F1 is trying to manage the situation,” Binotto continued. “We will have a meeting between us tonight to try to understand what’s the situation and how to manage it.
“F1 in that situation is not the most important one. What’s happening there is. It’s very sad.”
“At the moment we can only try to, not stand by, but certainly try to have between us the discussion and understand all the implications and what is the right choice for the future.”
“But F1 in that situation is not the most important one, what’s most important is what’s happening there, which, as I said, is very sad.”
Williams CEO Jost Capito was in support of Binotto’s view.
“It shows us when we look in the mirror that Formula 1 is not the most important [thing] in the world,” he said.
“There are bigger issues than Formula 1.”
“We think about the performance of our cars [while] other people are scared to lose their lives. I think we have to have this in mind and I think we’re all aligned on this.”
“What happens in the future? We have a very good relationship with FOM and with the FIA – these are the governing bodies and they aware about the situation, they are on top of it and they will take a proper and the right decision for all of us.”
During the F1 press conference held on the second day of the Barcelona pre-season test, several drivers also expressed their concerns over the incident. Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen spoke out against racing in Russia, with Vettel even stating that he will not travel to the nation if the Grand Prix is held.
Despite the fact that the race is still over seven months away, F1 issued a statement on Thursday stating that it is “monitoring the highly fluid circumstances” in Ukraine and made no further comments.
Other sports organisers are feeling the heat to cancel events in Russia. According to reports, UEFA will announce the relocation of the Champions League final, which was set to take place in St Petersburg in June.