F1 slammed for two decisions over Russia as commentator gives clear reply on Sochi return

Formula One cancels Russian Grand Prix following invasion of Ukraine

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F1 bosses could well be finished with Russia forever after the sport’s reaction in recent months, according to a Russian TV commentator. Alexey Popov claims it is unlikely the picture will change and appeared to hit out at F1 bosses for blocking fans from watching the sport.

Alongside terminating the deal at Russia’s Sochi Autodrom, F1 also terminated its deal with Match TV. It means fans are unable to follow any of the on-track action this season as the title battle hots up.

When asked whether he believes the situation could soon change, Popov simply responded “I think not.”

He added: “And it’s not whether there is inside information or not – I simply don’t see what could lead to this. You have seen the reaction Formula 1 made about everything else.

“It’s one thing to break the contract, but quite another that Russian people can’t even go to the official website or watch videos on Youtube – even with a VPN! So what are we even talking about? I think there is nothing to talk about at all.”

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F1 terminated its deal with Russia at the start of March in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine. A statement said: “Formula 1 can confirm it has terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix promoter meaning Russia will not have a race in the future.”

It meant Sochi Autodrom lost the chance to host its final race in 2022 while Russia’s new GP venue will never see the race hosted. The sport was set to move from Sochi to a newly revamped Igora Drive track near St Petersburg from 2023 to 2025.

After the race was axed, it was expected the sport would look to keep its record 23-race calendar and simply replace Russia with another venue.

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A race in Qatar or Turkey was suggested but instead, F1 has confirmed the slot will be left vacant with a week’s break before the Singapore Grand Prix. Back in 2020, F1 signed a new three-year contract extension with Match TV which would have kept the sport on-air until 2023.

F1TV was also launched in the country as Russia was seen as an important market for the sport. Russian driver Nikita Mazepin also lost his seat at Haas ahead of the new season as the team axed their sponsorship deal with UralKali.

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