The sport’s governing body, the FIA, staged an emergency meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on Tuesday to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion on Thursday. 

While the FIA moved to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it stopped short of suspending Russian drivers from participating in international motorsport competition. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order to invade Ukraine has been met with widespread condemnation and seen major economic sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries. 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) called for Russian and Belarusian athletes to be prevented from competing in international events on Monday. 

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FIFA and UEFA responded by suspending Russian football clubs and national teams from all competitions until further notice. World Athletics followed suit on Tuesday, mirroring decisions taken by sporting bodies including skiing, volleyball, rowing and badminton. 

But world motorsport’s decision means Mazepin and fellow Russian drivers such as Daniil Kvyat can continue to race at international level provided they do so “only in their neutral capacity and under the FIA flag”. 

Former Red Bull and Toro Rosso/AlphaTauri driver Kvyat said earlier on Tuesday that excluding Russian athletes from sport is an “unfair solution” which “goes against what sport teaches us in principle: the unity and peace”.

In an address at the WMSC meeting, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “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. 

“We condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and our thoughts are with all those suffering as a result of the events in Ukraine.” 

The statement confirmed that no Russian or Belarusian “national symbols, colours, flags should be displayed or anthems should be played at international/zone competitions until further notice”. 

This year’s Russian Grand Prix, scheduled to take place on September 25 in Sochi, has been formally cancelled on the grounds of force majeure. 

While Mazepin has been cleared to race in F1 under a neutral flag, his future remains uncertain with Haas set to hold legal talks regarding its title sponsor Uralkali this week. 

Uralkali is co-owned by Russian billionaire Dmitry Mazepin, Nikita’s father, who has close ties to Putin. 

Haas declined to comment on the Mazepin situation when asked by for a response to the FIA’s decision on Tuesday evening.