After a day of discussion that saw Max Verstappen share concerns and Sebastian Vettel openly refuse to enter a race if it were run, Formula 1 has decided not to race in Russia this season. The race had been planned for September 25, 2022.
Although the wording of their statement is ambiguous, RACER's Chris Medland reports that the event is directly canceled. It means the Russian Grand Prix has been put on an abrupt pause after eight years at the Sochi Olympic Park, a circuit designed into the facilities as part of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The announcement leaves an open September date on the calendar, one that Formula 1 is far more qualified to fill than it was two seasons ago. In both 2020 and 2021, the series was forced to scramble and replace multiple open dates on the calendar due to COVID-19 concerns. Extra races in England and Austria the week before traditional events were one option, but the more popular with fans was the choice to bring F1 racing back to qualified venues like Imola and Turkey that would otherwise not have a business case to run a full-time Grand Prix. With an unusually long lead time before the race's original date, F1 has plenty of time to decide when and where it will take the season's open date.
In addition to the race being canceled, Haas F1 is running its car in a plain white livery today, removing the Russian-flag-inspired elements it introduced in 2021. The team is also not using any branding from Russian fertilizer company and sponsor Uralkali through at least this weekend, prompting speculation that Uralkali-backed driver Nikita Mazepin's time at the team may be coming to an end.