Ferrari’s Russian test driver Robert Shwartzman will use an Israeli licence to make any appearances for the team in Formula 1.drive for them in two practice sessions during the season. However later that month Russia invaded Ukraine, which prompted the governing body of motorsport to introduce restrictions on the participation of Russian drivers in its events.
As well as stipulating Russian competitors must enter as neutrals, the FIA also requires them to sign a Driver Commitment acknowledging they forfeit their right to participate if they express support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Russian/Belarusian drivers [may] participate in international/zone competitions only in an individual and neutral capacity (as Authorised Neutral Drivers […]), subject to specific commitment and adherence to the FIA’s principles of peace and political neutrality, until further notice,” stated the FIA last month.
“This decision applies to drivers of Russian/Belarusian nationality and to drivers of any another nationality competing under the Russian or Belarusian ASN,” it added.
The announcement had immediate ramifications for Russian drivers competing in FIA series. The Haas F1 team dropped Nikita Mazepin, replacing him with Kevin Magnussen. Formula 3 driver Alexander Smolyar, who previously competed under a Russian licence, continued in the championship as as Authorised Neutral Driver.
Shwartzman competed in F2 last year under a Russian licence. However Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto confirmed he will use an alternative licence if he drives for them in future.
“Robert is born in Israel, he’s got an Israeli passport,” said Binotto in response to a question from RaceFans. “In terms of licence, it’s not a Russian one.”
Binotto also confirmed Shwartzman is no longer backed by any Russian companies. “He was in agreement as well with Russian companies, he interrupt any agreement he got with those [companies],” he added.
“So at the moment he’s still our test driver, he will remain for that, and if we will have in the future any opportunities to let him drive we will probably let him drive.”
Drivers who possess non-Russian or Belarusian passports may compete in FIA series without signing the Driver Commitment, RaceFans understands.
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