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Russia ban will have no impact on F1 Russian Grand Prix, claim promoters

Jack de Menezes
The Russian Grand Prix could be under threat from Wada's ban: Getty

The Russian Grand Prix promoters are confident that the World Anti-Doping Agency’s four-year ban on the nation competing in and hosting major sporting events will not impact the 2020 Grand Prix in Sochi because it would be “legally and technically impossible” to cancel it.

Wada issued a four-year ban to Russia for tampering with anti-doping data submitted as part of the investigation into a state-sponsored drugs programme, which saw the nation banned from the 2016 Rio Olympics and last year’s Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency can appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the hope of avoiding such a ban, which not only prevents athletes and teams from competing with the Russian name, flag and national anthem, but also prevents the country from hosting or bidding for any major sporting event throughout the ban.

The list of major sporting events from Wada includes the Olympics, Paralympics and Fifa World Cup, as well Formula One Grands Prix due to the FIA being recognised by the International Olympic Committee and classified by Wada as a code signatory.

However, Rosgonki, the promoters of the Russian Grand Prix, believe that the ban cannot apply to their deal as it was signed with Formula One in 2010, five years before the Wada investigation was launched.

"The contract for holding the Russian round of the Formula 1 World Championship was signed in 2010, long before the events investigated by Wada, and runs until 2025," a ROSGONKI statement said.

"We are confident that the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix will be held in 2020 and in the following years and invite everyone to Sochi. The ticket sales are in full swing."

Rosgonki add that they believe Wada to not have a legal case to move the race, but Formula One will keep a close eye on any appeal and if the ban is confirmed as final.

A Formula One spokesman said: "We will monitor the situation to see if there is an appeal and what would be its outcome."

As well as the presence of the Russian Grand Prix on the F1 calendar, Russia also has a driver on the grid in the form of Daniil Kvyat, who has been confirmed for 2020 with Toro Rosso. Under Wada’s ruling, his participation in the sport could also come under question, given that Russian athletes are not allowed to compete as Russians but as neutrals – something that has not been done in F1 before.

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