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Vettel backed over Russia-Ukraine crisis as F1 wrong to race in "a country at war"

Vettel backed over Russia-Ukraine crisis as F1 wrong to race in "a country at war"

Vettel backed over Russia-Ukraine crisis as F1 wrong to race in "a country at war"

Vettel backed over Russia-Ukraine crisis as F1 wrong to race in "a country at war"
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

F1 drivers have backed Sebastian Vettel's stance on this year's Russian Grand Prix after the country escalated tensions with Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin pushed forward with a "special military exercise" early on Thursday, drawing widespread condemnation from leaders around the world.

Four-time champion Vettel, who has been a leading advocate of human rights over the past two seasons, insisted he would not go to Russia for this season's event in September even if F1 allowed the race to go ahead.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali is to chair a meeting on Thursday night in Barcelona with the teams and the FIA to discuss the status of the race in Sochi.

Speaking alongside Vettel during a press conference in the lunch break on day two of the first pre-season test, reigning world champion Max Verstappen made his feelings clear.

"I think when a country is at war, it is not great to race, for sure," said Verstappen.

"But it is not only what I think, the whole paddock is going to decide what we are going to do next."

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc added: "We will have to speak about it but to not go into detail too much, because to be honest, I don't have all the information about what is happening.

"It is very sad to see that, especially in 2022 and then we will make a decision. I think Formula 1 will take a decision and has more info than we do but I can't express myself more, I don't have all the information."

Fernando Alonso explained: "I think it is going to be Formula 1's decision eventually.

"We, as drivers, have our opinion, I think it is the same one as everyone but we don't have the power to decide on things like that.

"We can make our own decision, for sure, but eventually I think Formula 1 will do the best [decision]."

After the situation in Eastern Europe worsened, F1 has acted quickly to convene following the conclusion of the second day of testing after initially stating earlier in the day it was watching the "fluid" tension.

With the serious nature of the continued escalation, the sport has seen it necessary to act in a timely manner, though there is no indication a decision will definitively be made during the meeting.

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