Red Bull driver Max Verstappen stormed to his second successive world championship in 2022, but he has been told that it doesn’t count for anything given the circumstances it was achieved in.
Former F1 driver Vitaly Petrov believes no success achieved at a time when Russian athletes are not allowed to compete in F1 have any meaning.
Nikita Mazepin was the only Russian driver in the sport ahead of last season.
However, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Haas cut ties with Dmitry Mazepin who had brought the team its main sponsor in Uralkali.
This was followed by a swift termination of Nikita Mazepin’s contract and the driver has failed to find a seat in motorsport since.
FIA took a strong stance following the change in Russia’s political stance.
The Russian Grand Prix was removed from the calendar altogether, but racers are still allowed to compete as long as they don’t use the country’s flag.
“Without Russia, I don’t consider a single champion or Olympic title to be valid,” Petrov said.
“We have to stop being afraid of our people and bring Russia back into world sport.
“For me, it’s not acceptable. I don’t understand at all this absurdity of imposing certain opinions on people. We can use the current situation as an impetus for the development of motorsport, training young people to guide them further into the future.”
Petrov was clear that this isolation would not last forever.
“I understand it’s difficult, but no one should give up,” he said.
“I myself have wanted to race in Formula 1 all my life, so I understand young drivers very well. But they have to be patient, practice and not stop believing, so when the opportunity to come back comes, we’ll all be ready.”