'Without Russia, I don't consider any title valid'

F1 News

Petrov wants Russia back in competitions
22 January 2023 at 11:48
Last update 22 January 2023 at 12:50
  • GPblog.com

Former Formula 1 driver Vitaly Petrov has said that, in his opinion, no championship is valid without Russian participation. Quoted by Soymotor, the Russian driver lashes out hard at the FIA and Formula 1 for making it too difficult for Russian drivers to participate, according to him.

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the sports world was faced with the question of how to deal with it. Some sports - such as ice skating and tennis - decided to exclude Russian participants completely. Although the FIA and Formula 1 did not go that far, the Russian Grand Prix was removed from the calendar and Haas decided to end its partnership with main sponsor Uralkali and driver Nikita Mazepin with immediate effect. Russian drivers are still allowed to compete in FIA championships but not under the Russian flag - something that was banned since 2021 anyway due to a Russian doping scandal - and they are not allowed to express support for Russia regarding the war in Ukraine.

'This is unacceptable to me'

For Petrov, these steps go too far. The driver, who from 2010 to 2012 became the first Russian ever to race in Formula 1, recently told Russia's Sport-Express that it is time to let go of these rules. "Without Russia, I don't consider any title or champion valid," Petrov said. "We should stop being afraid and let Russia return to world sport. I don't understand at all the nonsense of some positions they try to impose on people. For me, this is unacceptable."

Petrov encourages the young generation of Russian drivers to be patient and keep practising. "This isolation will not last forever. I understand it is complicated, but no one should throw in the towel. They must be patient, train and keep believing, so that when the opportunity arises we will all be ready to return."