Formula 1 has made a crucial schedule change for 2022 – Beyond the Flag

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Formula 1 (Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images)
Amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, much of the talk within the Formula 1 paddock at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya during preseason testing has had to do with the possibility of Formula 1 axing the Russian Grand Prix from the record-breaking 23-race calendar.
Several drivers indicated that they would boycott the race if it was not canceled. But now Formula 1 has pulled the plug, confirming that the Russian Grand Prix will not go ahead as planned at the 18-turn, 3.634-mile (5.848-kilometer) Sochi Autodrom road course in Sochi, Krasnodar Krai, Russia.
Despite mounting pressure, there were some questions as to whether or not this decision would actually be made, given the fact that Sochi Autodrom hosted its first Formula 1 race in October 2014, less than eight months after Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Formula 1 released the following statement.
“The FIA Formula 1 World Championship visits countries all over the world with a positive vision to unite people, bringing nations together. We are watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock and hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation.
“On Thursday evening Formula 1, the FIA, and the teams discussed the position of our sport, and the conclusion is, including the view of all relevant stakeholders, that it is impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix in the current circumstances.”
It is still very possible that this race will be replaced on the calendar, as there is now a three-week gap between races. The Italian Grand Prix is scheduled to take place Monza on Sunday, September 11, and the Singapore Grand Prix is scheduled to return for the first time since 2019 on Sunday, October 2.
One of the potential replacements discussed is Italy’s Mugello, which was one of the many tracks called upon to serve as replacement venues during the 2020 season.
The 2020 season saw its schedule drastically impacted — effectively overhauled — by COVID-19-related restrictions around the globe. In 2020, the track hosted a replacement race just one week after the Italian Grand Prix.
Should Russia return to the schedule in 2023, which is the current plan, the race would not be contested at Sochi Autodrom, as the track was scheduled to host its ninth and final race in 2022. Instead, Autodrom Igora Drive is set to host the 2023 Russian Grand Prix. This track, which is located outside of St. Petersburg, is a 15-turn, 2.539-mile (4.086-kilometer) road course.
The 2022 season is scheduled to get underway on Sunday, March 20 with the Bahrain Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit, which is also scheduled to host a preseason test session from Thursday, March 10 to Saturday, March 12.
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