London, March 2 (IANS) The International Automobile Federation (FIA) has taken the decision to allow Russian and Belarusian drivers to compete under a neutral flag, following an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council.
The meeting, announced by FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem to discuss “the ongoing crisis in Ukraine”, concluded with the decision that Russian and Belarusian drivers would be allowed to compete in top-level motorsport, so long as they do so under a neutral flag.
“As you know, the FIA is watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock and I hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation,” the FIA president said in a statement.
“We condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and our thoughts are with all those suffering as a result of the events in Ukraine. I would like to stress that the FIA, together with our promoters, proactively acted on this matter last week and communicated accordingly on the Formula 1, Formula 2, WTCR and the International Drifting Cup. An updated version of the different FIA International Calendars will be presented to the WMSC meeting in Bahrain for approval,” he said.
Russian/Belarusian drivers, individual competitors and officials to participate in international/zone competitions only in their neutral capacity and under the “FIA flag”, subject to specific commitment and adherence to the FIA’s principles of peace and political neutrality, until further notice
“We stand in solidarity with Leonid Kostyuchenko, the President of the Federation Automobile d’Ukraine (FAU) and the wider FIA family in the country. The measures taken today recognise the authority of the FAU in Ukraine and are also aligned with the recommendations recently made by the International Olympic Committee,” Ben Sulayem said.
Earlier, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said on Wednesday that Russian and Belarusian athletes can compete as neutrals at the Winter Paralympics in Beijing starting March 4 -13, despite calls to ban them after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.