F1 teams rule out Russian race boycott

Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:52pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Formula One teams say they will race in Russia, despite the crisis in Ukraine and downing of a Malaysian airliner, unless the country's debut grand prix in October is called off or they are ordered not to go.

"Obviously what's going on in Russia and that part of the world is of huge concern to everybody," Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams told a news conference at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Friday.

"But we've always said that as a sport we try and disengage from taking a political angle on these things.

"The FIA (International Automobile Federation) is the governing body of our sport and they issue a calendar and we have to take our direction from them. At the moment the race is still on the calendar."

Monisha Kaltenborn, principal of the Swiss-based Sauber team who have Russian partners and have committed to training up Russian reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin, agreed.

"We have to rely on the governing body and the commercial rights holder. They are the ones who have the responsibility and we will do as they say like we’ve done in the past," said the Indian-born boss.

The European Union has threatened to impose harsher economic sanctions on Russia after 298 people were killed when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 crashed near Donetsk on July 17.

Many of those on board were Dutch citizens.   Continued...

Williams Formula One deputy team principal Claire Williams attends a news conference after the second practice session of the Australian F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne March 14, 2014. REUTERS/Brandon Malone