A Russian politician has blasted British Grand Prix organisers for banning an F3 driver from racing at Silverstone. The decision has thrown Alex Smolyar’s F3 campaign into chaos as he will miss both races this weekend.
The 20-year-old unable to compete after a ban from UK motorsport organisers on Russian and Belarusian athletes. He was also refused a visa to enter the country which has raised fury from Russian politicians.
Dmitry Svischev, a sports administrator in Russia’s lower federal house slammed British sports organisers for the decision. It comes after Russian and Belarusian stars were barred from playing at Wimbledon.
Svischev called for the FIA to “intervene” as he accused organisers of “discrimination based on nationality”.
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He said: “British sports organisations have already revealed themselves in the Wimbledon situation. Now we see the same story, but in motorsport. I think that the FIA needs to intervene in this situation because it is an unjustified discrimination based on nationality.”
Motorsport UK, the body behind motorsport in the UK, banned Russian or Belurusian drivers from competing in races at the start of the season. The decision had been made following a consultation between Motorsport UK and the Government.
There were fears the decision would have a major impact on F1 as Nikita Mazepin was still a Haas driver at the time. David Richards, chairman of Motorsport UK said the decision was in solidarity with Ukraine.
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He explained it was the group’s “duty” to use its influence to bring the invasion of Ukraine to an end. He said: “The entire Motorsport UK community condemns the acts of war by Russia and Belarus in Ukraine and expresses its solidarity and support towards all those affected by the ongoing conflict.
“We stand united with the people of Ukraine and the motorsport community following the invasion and the unacceptable actions that have unfolded. This is a time for the international motorsport community to act and show support for the people of Ukraine and our colleagues at the Federation Automobile d’Ukraine (FAU).
“It is our duty to use whatever influence and leverage we might have to bring this wholly unjustified invasion of Ukraine to a halt.” Smolyar was replaced by Filip Urgan at MP Motorsport for this weekend’s races.