The Russian Grand Prix will not take place in 2022 and that means we have 22 Grands Prix on the calendar for now.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will have a huge impact on all areas of life and Formula One won’t be immune to it.
While the FIA has just issued a laconic “we’ll be monitoring the situation”, when asked what could happen to the Russian Grand Prix and to Russian driver Nikita Mazepin, the general feeling in Barcelona, here all teams are currently testing, is that the chances of the Russian Grand Prix being held this year are tremendously slim, if not non-existent.
While the Russian promoter will surely argue he has a valid contract in place and the safety of all Formula One personnel is guaranteed, the sanctions the rest of the world is imposing on Russian will prevent European and American companies from trading with government-backed people and companies, as it’s the case of Rogonski, the company that organizes the Grand Prix in Sochi.
This means Liberty Media and all car manufacturers involved in Formula One would face tremendously heavy penalties if they would go ahead with the Russian Grand Prix, so while the FIA’s refusing to make any serious statement, the Formula One group has already an alternative ready, to be announced as soon as the complete raft of sanctions against Russia will be announced.
Turkey, who stepped up in 2020 and 2021, offering the Istanbul Park circuit to Formula One at a time the sport was struggling to find enough venues to host races during the pandemic, has a new, long-term contract ready to be signed, as Stefano Domenicali’s plan was to get the Turkish race a permanent slot in the calendar from the start of next year.
But Istanbul is ready to take over the slot in the calendar Sochi will almost certainly have to vacate and for the teams and Formula One personnel that’s a perfect solution.
First of all, adding the Turkish Grand Prix to the calendar secures 23 races will be held, as planned; second, from a logistics point of view Istanbul is far more convenient than Sochi, with easier connections from Europe and into Singapore, as the night race will be held the weekend after the Turkish Grand Prix; third, the Istambul Park circuit normally offers more exciting races than Sochi and has more variable weather than the Russian track; finally, the financial package the Turks are willing to bring is at least as good as the Russian, so there will be no money lost, and that’s always a top priority for Liberty Media and Formula One.
Istanbul Park set to replace 2022 Russian Grand Prix Istanbul Park set to replace 2022 Russian Grand Prix
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