The FIA says it is impossible to still hold the race in Sochi.
The 2022 Formula One season is just about ready to kick off with Aston Martin already revealing the Vantage and DBX safety and medical cars that will be used in some of the races. While this announcement and the reveals of all the cars for the season ahead are welcome bits of sporting news, they've been somewhat overshadowed by recent events on a global scale. The FIA has now announced that this year's Russian Grand Prix in Sochi has been canceled in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine which commenced late last week.
In an official statement, the FIA says, "The FIA Formula One World Championship visits countries all over the world with a positive vision to unite people, bringing nations together. We are watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock and hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation.
"On Thursday evening Formula One, the FIA, and the teams discussed the position of our sport, and the conclusion is, including the view of all relevant stakeholders, that it is impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix in the current circumstances."
The 2022 Russian Grand Prix was set to take place on September 23 and would be the sixth race and final race at the track. The competition made a return to the location in 2014 after a century's absence and suggested plans to shift the race to Igora Drive near Saint Petersburg next year.
The FIA's decision follows several drivers speaking out on the matter, including Sebastian Vettel. Vettel was the first to speak out before the race was canceled, saying, "My own opinion is I should not go, I will not go. I think it's wrong to race in that country. I'm sorry for the people, innocent people who are losing their lives, getting killed for stupid reasons under a very strange and mad leadership."
Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Christian Horner have expressed similar views. Verstappen said, "When a country is at war, it is not right to race there," while Horner added, "I can't see how we can go possibly to Russia in the current climate. It's an issue for the governing body and the commercial rights holder that are responsible but how much can things change between now and September?"
The FIA has not announced a replacement destination for the axed race but some reports suggest that the sport could consider Turkey's Istanbul Park which was initially snubbed from this season due to financial constraints.
Subsequent to the start of the invasion, Haas F1, which is sponsored by a Russian company, Uralkali, stripped the sponsor livery and Russian colors from its car for the final day of testing in Barcelona. Whether the sponsorship is canceled or not will only be decided this week.