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Vettel: I won’t race in the Russian F1 GP after Ukraine invasion

Sebastian Vettel says he will not race in the Russian Grand Prix if Formula 1 still visits there later this year following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR22

F1 said on Thursday that it was monitoring the situation after Russia commenced a major military assault on Ukraine on Thursday morning after months of building tensions.

It has been reported that UEFA plans to strip St Petersburg of the Champions League final in June in reaction to the invasion, and has put F1’s plans for the grand prix in Sochi in the spotlight.

Four-time F1 world champion Vettel is a GPDA director and has been one of the grid’s most vocal figures on social matters and human rights in recent years.

While Vettel said he could not speak on behalf of the GPDA as the drivers had not discussed the issue, he revealed his own mind was already made up and he would not race in Russia.

“In my personal opinion, obviously I woke up again after this morning’s news, shocked,” Vettel said.

“I think it’s horrible to see what is happening. Obviously if you look at the calendar, we have a race scheduled in Russia.

“For myself, my own opinion is I should not go, I will not go. I think it’s wrong to race in that country. I’m sorry for the people, innocent people who are losing their lives, getting killed for stupid reasons under a very strange and mad leadership.

“I’m sure it’s something we will talk about, but as I said as GPDA, we haven’t come together year.”

Vettel added that “my decision is already made” on the matter.

Alpine driver Fernando Alonso said he thought that Formula 1 would ultimately “do the best thing”, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc backed F1 to “take a decision and have more information than we do”.

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen added: “When a country is at war, it is not right to race there.”

The Russian Grand Prix is scheduled for 25 September.

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