As the Formula 3 season is quickly approaching it has been confirmed that Alex Smolyar will not compete in the FIA F3 championship this season.
SMP to withdraw European Programme
SMP Racing was founded in 2013 by Boris Rotenburg. Rotenburg heads the Russian SMP Bank and is an ally to the Russian President.
Rotenburg had previously faced sanctions after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Further sanctions are developing after being placed on the UK Goverments sanction list due to the events in Ukraine.
In response to the FIA requirements for Russian and Belarussian drivers, the general director of SMP Racing Alexander Sergeyevich Zhemchuzhnikov commented saying “Our drivers see victories on the tracks not only as their personal successes, but also as the successes of the whole of Russia. Therefore, we regard the requirements voiced by the FIA as extremely stringent and cannot recommend that our drivers comply with them.”
The 20 year old Russian driver was due to start the FIA F3 season with MP Motorsport on the 18th March, completing the Bahrain tests without the SMP Racing logos. Smolyar ran a very consistent testing, improving position with each day classifying with the following times;
Day 1: 13th with a 1:48.158
Day 2: 7th with a 1:47.905
Day 3: 5th with a 1:47.909
This would be his third season after finishing 6th in the 2021 Drivers standing on 107 points. As well as gaining two race wins and four podiums in his second season in F3. An improvement from his 11th place and 59 points in 2020.
However, the MP Motorsport driver made a shock statement on Thursday morning writing on Instagram;
“I will not compete in FIA F3 and any international racing series this year.”
“I stand with the decision of SMP Racing to stop its European program as a result of an unprecedented requirements that FIA put on any Russian driver as a condition for access to international competitions.
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your support in these difficult times.”
The 20 year olds departure from MP Motorsport opens up another seat. With 8 days until the start of the season who will take his place?
Head Image Credit: MP Motorsport
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