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Formula 1 Bahrain March testing

F1 terminates Russian TV contracts, ends F1 TV availability

Formula 1 has terminated its television contract with Russian broadcaster Match TV as sports series across the world continue to cut ties following the invasion of Ukraine.

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21

F1 announced last week that it had terminated the Russian Grand Prix’s contract and would not race again in the country, while Russian driver Nikita Mazepin has lost his seat with Haas ahead of the new season.

Earlier this week, the Premier League took the decision to suspend its broadcast deals in Russia, preventing football fans from watching games amid a series of sporting sanctions throughout the world.

It has now emerged that F1 has taken similar action, terminating its broadcast contract with Match TV with immediate effect. Match TV signed its latest deal in 2020, which ran to the end of the 2023 season.

F1 TV will also no longer be available in Russia, preventing fans from subscribing to F1’s in-house streaming and removing all legal means for them to watch grands prix this season.

Match TV also broadcast Premier League football games, and has the rights to the UEFA Champions League and other European competitions in Russia. According to The Times, Spain’s top-flight league, La Liga, ran anti-war messages on its feeds last week, but these were blocked out by Russian broadcasters.

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In the immediate aftermath of the escalation of military action by Russia and the start of the invasion at the end of February, F1 called off the Sochi race before ultimately terminating its contract.

The promoter of the Russian Grand Prix, Rosgonki, initially claimed there was a chance this year’s race could still go ahead. But the termination of the contract means the race will no longer move to Igora Park on the outskirts of St Petersburg as planned next year.

The FIA took action by announcing that no events would take place in Russia or Belarus following an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, but said drivers from those nations could continue to race under a neutral flag.

Many national authorities, including Motorsport UK, took their own action by introducing their own bans on drivers from those countries competing in events under its jurisdiction.

Haas announced over the weekend that it had terminated Mazepin’s contract, as well as ending the agreement with title sponsor Uralkali. Mazepin and his father, Dmitry, have since been subject to sanctions by the EU.

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