Politicians pile on the pressure to cancel Russian GP


Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin we

Politicians are pushing Formula One to call off the Russian F1 race, and to make a stand against Russian president Vladimir Putin. Putin is one of the main driving forces behind the Sochi race – and has a good relationship with F1 figure Bernie Ecclestone.

There have been calls to cancel the Russian F1 race, scheduled for October 12, following the Ukrainian crisis and the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which killed 298 people. Senior politicians including David Davis and Sir Menzies Campbell also cast doubt on whether the race can go ahead on Tuesday, writes the Telegraph.

Conservative MP David Davis who previously worked in the Foreign Office said: "The morally proper thing to do is put the race on hold. It would be an important and appropriate response to cancel the race.

"If Russia continues as they have been doing, then the Grand Prix is one of the many things that they should be denied".

Sir Menzies Campbell, who is part of the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, stated that there should be an "assessment of the suitability" of Russia hosting the race. He commented: "Public opinion all over the world will find it difficult to accept Mr Putin taking all the plaudits for this Grand Prix in Russia and, no doubt, presenting the prizes."

Relations between Britain and Russia have been poor following a public inquiry into the death of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko - which took place the same day that politicians called to cancel the race.

The situation is similar to the controversy over the recent races in Bahrain which were a PR disaster. David Davis MP said: "F1 already had a problem in the past with Bahrain. Whilst I'm not particularly in favour of cancelling sports events at the drop of a hat, I think that Formula One should reflect the global outrage."

The World Motorbike Federation has already called off a superbike race scheduled for September in Sochi. However, a spokesman from the FIA, motorsport's governing body, has said it "does not mix politics and sport."

Ecclestone who has controversially supported Putin's stand on gay rights in the past has said he planned to "honour our contract" with the Russian leader. Eccelstone has also confirmed that a race will be held in Mexico City – which last held a race in 1992 – next year.