F1 urged to put Russian GP on hold after MH17 crash

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Sergey Sirotkin, Sauber, Sochi, 2013In the round-up: Formula One comes under political pressure to cancel the Russian Grand Prix.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Ecclestone urged to cancel the Russian Grand Prix (The Telegraph)

“Conservative MP David Davis, a former minister in the Foreign Office and shadow home secretary, said that the race on Oct 12 should be called off. ‘If Russia continues as they have been doing, then the grand prix is one of many things that they should be denied,’ he said. ‘The morally proper thing to do is put the race on hold.'”

Drivers warned after Raikkonen crash (Autosport)

FIA race director Charlie Whiting: “It was my view that Kimi did not rejoin very safely and should have taken more care.”

South Africa’s Kyalami F1 track to be sold (SBS)

“South Africa’s Kyalami racetrack, which hosted Formula One races for almost two decades, will be sold and could be lost to motorsport, auction organisers said on Wednesday.”

Lauda in retro: “Chiedo scusa a Ferrari, Montezemolo e italiani” (La Gazzetta dello Sport, Italian)

Niki Lauda apologises to “Ferrari, Luca di Montezemolo and Italians” after describing this year’s Ferrari as “shit”.

Mexico set to return to F1 calendar in 2015 (F1)

Tavo Hellmund: “Ever since Bernie and I began working on a race at Austin, it’s been a dream of mine to help Formula One return to Mexico.”

Warm liebt Deutschland die Formel 1 nicht mehr? Katerstimmung Liebt Deutschland die Formel 1 nicht mehr? (Sport Bild, German)

This article on why spectator figures at Hockenheimring were so low suggests it was due to a combination of high ticket prices, spectators being drawn to the nearby Austrian Grand Prix earlier in the year, loss of interest following the high of Germany’s World Cup victory, and the ‘polarising’ appeal of Sebastian Vettel compared to the adulation once bestowed on Michael Schumacher.

UK F1 TV ratings paint mixed picture at halfway stage (The F1 Broadcasting Blog)

“Logically, viewing figures should start to improve year-on-year if Hamilton remains in the title race. I think some of the figures already this year have been alarming, but we should see some improvements soon, especially when you consider that 2013 fell off a cliff in the latter stages.”

Going back to my Karting days (Lewis Hamilton via Youtube)


Lewis Hamilton is single-handedly keeping F1 interesting (GQ)

“Not only is Lewis keeping the F1 season interesting, he is also keeping British sports fans on the edge of their seats and doing his bit to make sure the year isn’t a complete blow-out.”

Hungarian Grand Prix Betting: A Happy Hunting Ground for Britain’s F1 Racers (Unibet)

My Hungarian Grand Prix preview for Unibet.


Comment of the day

@Matt90 marvels at the lack of thought which seems to go into F1 rule-making after Toto Wolff admitted a mistake had been made in approving double points:

If the grounds for complaint had simply been that super-bonus points were untraditional, then I could accept the teams being a bit confused and needing to say “we didn’t appreciate how firmly routed in tradition the fan base and by extension the sport itself is”.

But the grounds for complaint is how unsporting the concept is. So their response of essentially “we didn’t appreciate that the fan base supports or understands a thing called sporting integrity, nor that it should probably be a fundamental concept in all sports, even this one” still sounds backwards even if they’ve at least changed their tune.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Karan and Younger Hamii!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Happy birthday to Tiago Monteiro, Portugal’s only driver to stand on the podium of a world championship race (albeit in controversial circumstances), who is 38 today.

Image © Sauber

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109 comments on F1 urged to put Russian GP on hold after MH17 crash

  1. Dom Dum (@visof) said on 24th July 2014, 0:06

    So not doing a race in Russia because of politics, but in Bahrain it’s fine?

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 24th July 2014, 0:18

      Although stopping races because of politics is a slippery slope, a country being responsible for the deaths of hundreds of international citizens who were on a well-known flight path is a bit different to anything that happened in Bahrain.

      • Irejag (@irejag) said on 24th July 2014, 0:30

        It was Russia’s military, not the Russian people that fired the missile, so why should all of Russia and other fans from around the world be punished by not having a race? I am sick and tired of foreign entities getting involved in the politics of other countries. I feel that what happens in one country should not effect the lives of people in other countries because politicians stick their noses in.
        If Ukraine and Russian want to fight it out, let them, it is none of our business. If the middle east want to fight, let them, it is none of our business. I am a fan F1 and I want to see a race, I don’t care about the political implications of it.
        “The show must go on.”
        The Russian people deserve to have a momentary distraction from all the crap around them, and so do we. To cancel the race would be a big mistake.

        • Burkenheim (@burkenheim) said on 24th July 2014, 0:36

          Since you have proof that the Russians shot down MH 17 you should probably let the worlds media know so they can report it to everyone and stop investigating

        • HoHum (@hohum) said on 24th July 2014, 0:40

          North Korea, the people there really deserve a distraction from their joyless undernourished existence. The show can go on but maybe it shouldn’t be in Russia.

        • Nick (@nick-uk) said on 24th July 2014, 0:45

          I don’t even know where to begin with this statement. Sigh.

        • Adrian Taylor said on 24th July 2014, 0:56

          If Ukraine and Russia want to fight it out its none of our business…….
          Until 300 innocent people lose their lives as a direct result of that conflict

          If the middle east want to fight it out its none of out business……..
          Until they start committing war crimes (alleged)

          In an ideal world, millions of motor sports fans might band together and let their voice be heard against what most people would describe as atrocities, i.e. by boycotting an F1 race in Russia this year.

          However, if the F1 race does go ahead in Russia, it probably won’t be because F1 want to take a neutral political stance or ‘keep their noses out of it’. It will be because they stand to make a lot of money out of it!

        • matt90 (@matt90) said on 24th July 2014, 1:23

          I am sick and tired of foreign entities getting involved in the politics of other countries

          The politics of the particular country in question currently involves the invasion/annexation of another country and accidentally killing international citizens. Those politics are very much other people’s business…

          • Mike (@mike) said on 24th July 2014, 2:04


          • Rodrrico (@rodrrico) said on 24th July 2014, 4:08

            We’ll be sure to remind you of that when it is your countrymen murdered.

          • alanore said on 24th July 2014, 8:18

            I think banning the Russia GP would be a slippery slope.

            Most western nations were involved in the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.

            The US aid and supply weapons to Israel who have a military invasion/annexation of the West Bank and Gaza.

            In all of the above scores of innocent people were killed.

            Its not F1s job to protest the politics of a nation by withdrawing the GP. With that said I will be a hypocrite and say I really think that F1 should only go to stable nations that are safe for fans to travel to, not the current method of whichever country pays Bernie more.

      • Adam said on 24th July 2014, 13:22

        Hitler once gassed a load of Jews. Let’s never go to Germany again!

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 24th July 2014, 0:27

      Well the Bahrainis are not directly or indirectly trying to annex part of a neighbouring country nor did they shoot down directly or indirectly an airliner on an international route with 298 people on board. Vlad Putin is the 21st centuries Napoleon and should not be appeased.

      • Irejag (@irejag) said on 24th July 2014, 1:31

        The let the Russian people deal with it. They revolted once before, they can do it again.

        • HoHum (@hohum) said on 24th July 2014, 1:48

          A majority of Russian people like what Putin is doing, he gets the credit for the high energy prices that have vastly improved the standard of living in Russia, now he wants to restore Russias empire and in any country there are a lot of jingoistic people happy to feel superior to their neighbours. As long as the Russian people see Putin as improving things for them they will back him no matter what others suffer as a result.

          • Slava (@slava) said on 24th July 2014, 11:11


            he gets the credit for the high energy prices that have vastly improved the standard of living in Russia

            Sorry, but you do not understand what you are talking about. That is totally not correct.

    • JackySteeg (@jackysteeg) said on 24th July 2014, 0:32

      I’m pretty sure they release a similar sort of statement in the buildup to Bahrain. It just seems like an empty token gesture so they can’t be accused of supporting the event. I don’t think they seriously expect Bernie to turn around and say “good point, I’d better cancel it then.”

    • 6Speed (@6speed) said on 24th July 2014, 2:34

      I for one would support not racing in Russia (yes they should have skipped Bahrain too).

    • svianna (@svianna) said on 24th July 2014, 4:42

      Greed is BAD. All the F1 Teams have to protect their brands and their sponsor brands from backlash. There are plenty of countries willing to and interested in hosting F1 races. Why should we take the circus to countries known for their endemic corruption and/or blatant violation of human rights? Social Responsibility should also be embraced by all F1 stakeholders.

      So, as we heard, BE is hard balling Monza to extract more millions of Euros from the Italians. And in the meantime, people see no problem to race in Russia and Bahrain because BE gets his millions of blood tainted money?

      It is time for the brands to wake up and realize whom they are associating with.

      • pxcmerc (@pcxmerc) said on 25th July 2014, 3:27

        Perhaps you missed the destruction of Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Sudan? I think there are a lot of people who love to point their finger at who the television tells them too. Point blank, if your going to pull a race from Russia, you would be a hypocrite to want the race in the US to remain, Russia isn’t the one with hundreds of bases across the globe knocking down countries, the murder of hundreds of thousands of people and general suffering, currently.

        Hypocrisy Rules!

    • spoutnik (@spoutnik) said on 24th July 2014, 10:00

      My opinion is that there are 5 races this year which should not feature on the calendar. Not difficult to find which ones.

    • Dan Brown (@danbrown180) said on 24th July 2014, 10:08

      Surely sanctions could have a bigger impact? You don’t ban the race you ban the money and the race follows. Sauber and Toro Rosso are tied up in Russian money at the moment. They should be making contingency plans in my opinion.

    • Joshua Mesh (@joshua-mesh) said on 24th July 2014, 10:25

      Every bit of evidence that Russia shot the plane down has been debunked. There is overwhelming evidence that the plane was shot down by Ukraine.

      #1 Ukraine post a picture of what they claim is a Russian anti-aircraft missile system in Ukraine. Bloggers then show how that AM system is in fact Ukraine’s own system and not Russias. (Kiev caught lying).
      #2 Russia provides evidence that the Ukraine anti-air missile system is online and in the area of the plane at the time the plane was shot down. No one disputes this.
      #3 Ukraine SU-27 jet flies to within 3km of the plane at the time it is shot down. Radar images prove this.
      #4 Russia shows that the plane is out of range of their their own anti-air system when it is shot down. Impossible for Russia to have shot it down.
      #5 Ukraine accuses Russia of shooting down two of its SU-27 jets. Ukraine/kiev says it could not have been the Rebels because Ukraine admit the rebels do not have the anti-air missile system (a networked 4 tanked-radar system) needed to shoot down a jet flying at 5,700km altitude.
      #6 The civilian plane was flying at over 10,000km altitude. We know from #5 that the rebels do not have the equipment needed to shoot down a plane at that altitude.

      After all this, it makes me sick that everyone instantly blames Russia. It sends a scary message, which says to the gangsters running Ukraine that they can do what ever they like because Russia will always take the blame.

      • Dan Brown (@danbrown180) said on 24th July 2014, 10:41

        Oh please, what is the most likely story? That this is a massive conspiracy perpetrated by Ukraine and the west for no reason whatsoever, or that people who had already shot down several aircraft previously mistook the identity of a plane passing over? There is no doubt at all about who is responsible.

      • spoutnik (@spoutnik) said on 24th July 2014, 10:50

        #1 evidences like vague satellite pictures remembers me the mass destruction weapons from Saddam Hussain, can’t be fact
        #2 I wonder how this can constitute ‘evidence’, it’s a claim as no missile has been tracked by anyone
        #3 everyone has admitted that the plane was shot down by land to air missile, the presence of ukrainian jets is aknowledged in the zone and irrelevant
        #4 out of range of the Russians, but in the perfect window of the separatists
        #5 Ukraine has indeed accused the russians for their jets lost because it’s been done within 10 kilometers of the Russian border but the BUK system is owned and operated by the rebels, as it is admitted by all parties, verify your sources.
        #6 They do have the needed equipment to shot down a plane up to 45km range

        You forgot to mention that:
        #7 rebels have declared they had shot down a plane minutes after the tragedy, by internet and communications.
        #8 Why the h*ck would Ukraine even shoot a land-to-air missile, in their airspace, and against what treat?
        #9 After the two jets were shot down, rebels claimed to have done it, and with BUK systems.
        Seriously …

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 24th July 2014, 11:30

        Somebody’s been reading Putin’s propaganda.

  2. Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 24th July 2014, 0:08

    Cheers for the birthday shoutout Keith, I shall try and come on here more often again – both as a fanatic and writer maybe ;-)

  3. gregwtravels (@gregwtravels) said on 24th July 2014, 0:13

    Should Russia be denied the F1 in Sochi? I wasn’t sure they should have the Sochi Olympics given their stand on gay rights. But I watched the Olympics, because I am Canadian and winter sports are important to us.

    If you add the recent Ukrainian land-grabs and murder (intentional or not, or at the very least conspiracy to commit murder) of innocent, completely unrelated to the issue civilians, how can the Russian GP go ahead?

    Of course, I know it will, because the money is there and paid and that is the driver. And worst – like John Oliver’s views on FIFA (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlJEt2KU33I) – I’ll still end up watching it. Why? Because F1 is my religion.

  4. gregwtravels (@gregwtravels) said on 24th July 2014, 0:15

    On a different topic, I know that Marussia is bottom on the tables on most any measure, but seriously – are they making the drivers fly easyJet? I guess it could be worst. They could make them fly RyanAir.

    • stefano bondani said on 24th July 2014, 0:30

      marussia is spending their few money wisely where they should be spent, and not on expensive flights that won’t make their cars or drivers any faster

    • hunocsi (@hunocsi) said on 24th July 2014, 1:20

      I never understood it, what’s so bad about Ryanair? It gets you from A to B freaking cheap, and they even let you breath. Which is weird, because I always hear critics about it which would suggest the opposite. But I flied with them and am still alive.

      • Jueta (@eljueta) said on 24th July 2014, 5:52

        This. I fly with low cost companies constantly, the only thing i miss from other companies is the free beer, but then again what I save allows me to buy a lot of it.

      • Gwan said on 24th July 2014, 17:17

        I always had the same opinion until the time they cancelled a flight – supposedly because of strike action in France but I was sitting at the front of the plane and saw them having to change a window, thus meaning they missed their slot and the airport in France closed for the next three days. Because it wasn’t “their fault”, all that was refunded was the original cost of the ticket, when is actually had to rebook (far more expensive) with another airline to fly to a different city and then catch a train to where I had to go. I know it was a confluence of circumstances both within and outside their control, but they were so unhelpful (the staff on the ground just repeated that they didn’t work for RyanAir so couldn’t help with any advice or practical assistance) and I ended up a couple of hundred euros out of pocket. So yeah, fine until it’s not really!

    • tonyyeb (@tonyyeb) said on 24th July 2014, 9:10

      If anything as he is effectively paying the team for his drive I would have thought he is kind of paying for the flight too ha!

    • kthxrawr (@kthxrawr) said on 24th July 2014, 10:02

      Drivers on EasyJet isn’t a new thing. I went to Hungary in 2011, and we had Daniel Riccardio on the same EasyJet flight as us, as well as a member of Red Bull management… And if I remember correctly, there was definitely someone who sounded an awful lot like David Croft! So not just teams who wanted the cheaper option.

    • JenniKate (@jennikate) said on 24th July 2014, 23:58

      Also, of course, airport choice & timetables often make it far more convenient to take a low-cost carrier, particularly when hopping around Europe!

  5. Kodongo (@kodongo) said on 24th July 2014, 0:35

    Impromptu Caption Competition
    Image: Toto Wolf shows his injuries

    Luckily for Toto, the accident didn’t take place in Abu Dhabi, otherwise it would have almost certainly resulted in a double fracture.

  6. Burkenheim (@burkenheim) said on 24th July 2014, 0:38

    Absolutely delighted about the Mexican GP returning. The calender needs more classics like this track and hopefully that means we can get rid of a rubbish track like abu dhabi.

  7. Valhyre (@ausuma) said on 24th July 2014, 1:01

    So is it confirmed that the Mexican Grand Prix is actually returning? i keep seeing this news everywhere and i’m really really excited!.

  8. Tyler (@tdog) said on 24th July 2014, 1:07

    It’s all well and good for a British MP to say that the Russian GP should be cancelled (a sentiment I agree with) but it really doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. Backbenchers say things all the time, but that shouldn’t be confused with the government’s official position.

    Although the contract for the Russian GP is not in the public domain, I’d be amazed if FOM could cancel the race without being in breach, and liable for substantial damages. Same situation with the teams – they are contractually obliged to participate in all races.

    And that of course ignores the reality that Bernie and CCV will take money over morals every day.

    The only way that I can see the race not proceeding is if the UK parliament bans, by legislative force, any team based in that country (which is most of them) from participating in the Russian GP. And while I’d like to see that happen, I’m very sceptical that it will.

    • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 24th July 2014, 9:30

      The only way the race will ever get postponed is if the teams insurers refuse to cover them running the cars in Russia – then they’ll have no choice but to refuse to go and Bernie can’t do anything about it, because it wasn’t the teams decision.

      I believe that is what was likely to happen with Bahrain 2011, so Bernie & the organisers cancelled it to save face.

  9. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 24th July 2014, 1:20

    Niki Lauda apologises to “Ferrari, Luca di Montezemolo and Italians” after describing this year’s Ferrari as “that”.

    FERRARI and MONTEZEOMOLO themselves should apologise, not Lauda for stating the obvious…

    • dragoll (@dragoll) said on 24th July 2014, 2:14

      if ferrari were to apologise for every race car they built which wasnt up to scratch, i doubt that luca would still be around, it is all the blame shifting that keeps him where is

  10. ExPatBrit said on 24th July 2014, 2:14

    Malaysian National Oil Company, Petronas.

    As in Mercedes AMG Petronas team.

    Couldn’t blame them for boycotting Sochi, maybe pull all the power units.

  11. Mike (@mike) said on 24th July 2014, 2:27

    But Russia trying to take former land back was ok?

  12. Steve K said on 24th July 2014, 2:47

    Since day one in the sport, Lewis has been the straw that stirs the F1 drink. His personality should be celebrated, not criticized. Quite honestly, I wish he would come to the states and race IndyCar. His personality is too fun for F1.

  13. Deb Luhi (@debeluhi) said on 24th July 2014, 4:33

    Struggling to decide who’s worst: The incompetent idiots with dangerous weapons or the low life politicians trying to score cheap political points out of a tragedy.

  14. Jimmy Hearn (@alebelly74) said on 24th July 2014, 4:49

    How exactly does Toto stay so dead sexy? After an accident like that I would be in some lonely dark room sucking on a pain drip fantasizing about my mother telling me I’ll be just fine

  15. TMF (@tmf42) said on 24th July 2014, 5:52

    I think sport events should never be called off on political grounds, but the discussion about it should be held. This ensures that the controversies like in Bahrain, Russia or other places stay in the news and also reach people who aren’t that interested in foreign affairs. Fans have to deal with it once it concerns their favourite sport or team. And boycotts only work if they are partial – if it’s the whole event that’s called off then there are fewer headlines and the issues disappear from the news. Like the last time F1 decided not to go to Bahrain.

    • TMF (@tmf42) said on 24th July 2014, 5:57

      Also on another note – F1 is the least of their worries. If they really wanna get to Russia then maybe the UK should stop delivering weapons to them before talking about empty gestures like calling off a sporting event.

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