How Russia’s doping ban will impact on motorsport
By Mat Coch
Sunday 7th February, 2021 - 11:33am
Russian drivers will have to race under a neutral flag for the next two seasons as a result of the country being banned from international sport.
That will see Formula 1 rookie Nikita Mazepin unable to display his national flag, one of several restrictions imposed on Russian drivers.
The Russian Automobile Federation, the country’s equivalent of Motorsport Australia, has clarified the ruling of the Court of Arbitration made in December relating to Russian athletes competing in world championship events.
A decision by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), and upheld by the CAS, has resulted in restrictions on how Russian athletes can be represented for the next two years.
Russia was effectively banned from international sport for a four-year period after WADA endorsed a recommendation that the RUSADA be declared non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code.
The four-year ban was reduced to two by the CAS, but with restrictions in place for international athletes.
Investigations had initially been launched in response to allegations of a doping programme ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Drivers will therefore be prohibited from using the Russian flag or the country’s national emblems such as the two-headed eagle on their apparel but can incorporate the colours.
They are only allowed to use the name Russia if accompanied with the phrase ‘neutral athlete’ prominently displayed.
The names Russia, Russian, and Russian Automobile Federation are banned, though the RAF acronym is permissible.
Drivers are also prohibited from displaying a Russian flag, and the Russian National Anthem would not be played in the event of victory.
That ban extends to playing of the anthem during the pre-race build up at events such as September’s Russian Grand Prix, though spectators will be allowed to wave Russian flags.
The decision will apply to all Russians competing in world championships; Formula 1, World Rally Championship, World Endurance Championship, Formula E, and others.