sports

Russian Kvyat criticises 'unfair' sports bans

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Former Russian Formula One driver Daniil Kvyat said Tuesday that "sports should remain outside politics" and decried the banning of Russian athletes from the competition as "unfair" after his country's invasion of Ukraine.

Russia have been thrown out of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and all its national teams and clubs banned from international football competitions.

The decision by FIFA and UEFA, as well as similar suspensions announced by other sports, including athletics and ice skating, came after the International Olympic Committee urged sports federations to impose bans on Russia and Belarus.

Formula One's Russian Grand Prix scheduled for September 25 was cancelled on Friday.

The FIA also announced Tuesday that Russian drivers would not be able to compete under their country's flag and that the Russian national anthem will no longer be played in F1.

"Sports federations across the world including the IOC should remain outside politics," Kvyat said in a social media post.

"Disallowing Russian athletes and teams from participating in world competitions is an unfair solution.

"Who else if not us sports people will help glue together nations in the upcoming times."

Kvyat, who drove for Red Bull and Toro Rosso in F1, said he hopes "for a peaceful solution in Ukraine".

"Hopefully all parties can find a solution by sitting together and through a respectful dialogue," he said. "It horrifies me to see two brotherhood nations in a conflict. I don't want military actions or wars to influence the future of humanity, I want my daughter and all children to enjoy this beautiful world."

Kvyat, 27, is Russia's most successful Formula One driver, winning 202 points in his career with three podium finishes. He last raced in the sport in 2020.

FIA announces ban on Russian flags, anthems

Russian flags and the playing of its national anthem will be banned in Formula One, the FIA announced on Tuesday in response to the country's invasion of Ukraine.

The FIA had already cancelled the Russian Grand Prix, scheduled for September 25, last week.

It says professional drivers from Russia and Belarus can only compete "under the FIA flag" and in a "neutral capacity" until further notice.

Haas' Nikita Mazepin is the only Russian driver currently in F1.

American team Haas dropped the branding of its Russian title sponsor Uralkali during the last day of pre-season testing in Barcelona last Friday.

Uralkali, a group specialising in potash, has Nikita Mazepin's father, businessman Dmitry Mazepin, as its non-executive director.

The FIA said that "no Russian/Belarusian nationals symbols, colours, flags should be displayed".

The governing body has also told "representatives from Russian/Belarusian FIA members to step aside temporarily from their roles".

There will be no races in Russia and Belarus until further notice.

The FIA moved quickly to cancel the F1 race originally due to be held in Sochi last Friday after several drivers said they would not be comfortable competing.

"For myself, my own opinion is I should not go, I will not go. I think it's wrong to race in the country," said four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

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