Max Verstappen has signed a five-year contract extension with Red Bull ahead of the 2022 season.

The Formula One world champion's previous deal was due to expire next year, but his team on Thursday announced that the 24-year-old will stay on until at least the end of the 2028 season.

Verstappen claimed his first F1 title in 2021 by pipping Lewis Hamilton in controversial circumstances in Abu Dhabi.

The Dutchman said: "I really enjoy being part of Red Bull Racing, so choosing to stay to the 2028 season was an easy decision. I love this team and last year was simply incredible.

"Our goal since we came together in 2016 was to win the championship and we have done that, so now it's about keeping the number one on the car long-term."

Russian driver Nikita Mazepin will be barred from competing for Haas at the British Grand Prix following measures introduced by Britain's national motorsport authority in response to the situation in Ukraine.

The FIA confirmed on Tuesday that Russian and Belarusian drivers would be allowed to compete in Formula One this season under a neutral flag.

However, Motorsport UK will not allow drivers, teams or officials from those nations to take part at Silverstone in early July, meaning Mazepin will miss out. The ban spans across all motorsports in the United Kingdom.

Motorsport UK chair David Richards, in accordance with the board of the organisation, made the announcement in a statement on Wednesday, a week on from Russia's initial invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

"The entire Motorsport UK community condemns the acts of war by Russia and Belarus in Ukraine and expresses its solidarity and support towards all those affected by the ongoing conflict," Richards said.

"We stand united with the people of Ukraine and the motorsport community following the invasion and the unacceptable actions that have unfolded. 

"This is a time for the international motorsport community to act and show support for the people of Ukraine and our colleagues at the Federation Automobile d'Ukraine (FAU)."

Motorsport UK says the decision was "taken in full consultation with the UK government and national sports governing bodies to ensure that there is a unilateral response to the crisis".

Richards added: "It is our duty to use whatever influence and leverage we might have to bring this wholly unjustified invasion of Ukraine to a halt. 

"We would encourage the motorsport community and our colleagues around the world to fully embrace the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee and do whatever we can to end this war.

"Motorsport UK stands united with Leonid Kostyuchenko, the President of the FAU, the Ukrainian motorsport community and the Ukrainian people and calls for the violence to end with a peaceful resolution."

Mazepin is the only Russian driver on the F1 grid, with the 22-year-old due to start his second season in Bahrain later this month.

He finished bottom of the drivers' standings in 2021 and his future with Haas was already in doubt prior to Wednesday's announcement, with just three weeks to go until the 2022 season begins.

The Russian Grand Prix, which was due to take place in September, has already been cancelled by F1 chiefs, with the FIA describing that as a decision taken "for reason of force majeure".

Russian drivers have avoided being banned by motorsport's world governing body, meaning Haas driver Nikita Mazepin can compete for his Formula One team.

A range of measures was announced by the FIA on Tuesday, with teams representing Russia and close ally Belarus being suspended until further notice.

The conflict since the Russian-led invasion of Ukraine was addressed at an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC).

Drivers from Russia and Belarus will be barred from racing as representatives of their countries, but they will be allowed to compete as neutrals, providing they do not step out of line.

Mazepin is the only Russian driver on the F1 grid, with the 22-year-old due to start his second season in Bahrain later this month.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem told the meeting the FIA was observing events in Ukraine "with sadness and shock", adding that he hoped for "a swift and peaceful resolution". He also spoke of concern for the FIA's Ukrainian members and their current "intolerable hardship".

"We condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and our thoughts are with all those suffering as a result of the events in Ukraine," he added.

The FIA said none of its competitions should take place in Russia or Belarus until further notice, with flags or symbols of either country also banned for now, along with anthems and national colours.

Outlining its position on drivers, the FIA stated: "Russian/Belarusian drivers, individual competitors and officials to participate in international/zone competitions only in their neutral capacity and under the 'FIA flag', subject to specific commitment and adherence to the FIA's principles of peace and political neutrality, until further notice."

The Russian Grand Prix, which was due to take place in September, has already been cancelled by F1 chiefs, with the FIA describing that as a decision taken "for reason of force majeure".

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has called an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council to discuss a response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Ben Sulayem made the announcement on his social media page on Monday.

The council will meet on Tuesday "to discuss matters relating to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine", a Twitter post read.

The FIA was awarded full recognition status by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2013. The IOC has recommended Russian and Belarusian athletes be suspended from all sports.

In Formula One, such a ban would impact Haas driver Nikita Mazepin, the only Russian driver on the grid for 2022.

The Russian Grand Prix has already been removed from the F1 calendar in the coming season.

The Russian Grand Prix has been cancelled for 2022, Formula One announced on Friday.

The decision was taken following a meeting on Thursday between organisers, teams and governing body the FIA to discuss the sport's position in relation to the Ukraine crisis.

Russia president Vladimir Putin ordered a military invasion of Ukraine, which continued into a second day on Friday. There were reports that fighting had reached the capital city of Kiev at around 14:00 local time (12:00 GMT).

"The FIA Formula One World Championship visits countries all over the world with a positive vision to unite people, bringing nations together," the F1 statement said.

"We are watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock and hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation.

"On Thursday evening, Formula One, the FIA and the teams discussed the position of our sport, and the conclusion is, including the view of all relevant stakeholders, that it is impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix in the current circumstances."

The race at the Sochi Autodrom was due to take place over the weekend of September 23-25. Reports suggest it will be provisionally replaced on the calendar by a race in Turkey.

Earlier on Friday, UEFA moved the Champions League final from St Petersburg to Paris and ordered all Russian and Ukrainian club and national teams to play home matches in UEFA competition at neutral venues, amid increasing pressure for sporting bodies to take action against Russian interests.

Sebastian Vettel claims he has already decided not to participate in September's Russian Grand Prix after Russia launched an attack on neighbouring Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to attack Ukraine comes just days after Moscow elected to recognise the independence of two breakaway regions in the east of the country, and has led to Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy severing diplomatic ties with Russia and declaring martial law in the country.

The attack has drawn widespread international condemnation, and has already impacted the sporting world, with UEFA likely to strip St Petersburg of May's Champions League final and the Ukrainian Premier League being suspended.

Now Vettel claims he has already made up his mind on whether he would participate in the Russian Grand Prix, currently scheduled for late September in Sochi.

"I woke up after this morning's news, [and was] shocked," the four-time Drivers' champion said.

"For myself, my opinion is I should not go, I will not go.

"I think it's wrong to race in the country. 

"I'm sorry for the innocent people that are losing their lives, that are getting killed for stupid reasons and [because of] a very, very strange and mad [Russian] leadership.

"I'm sure it's something we will talk about, but as the GPDA [Grand Prix Driver's Association, the trade union representing Formula One drivers], we haven't come together yet."

Aston Martin driver Vettel, who won four consecutive world championships between 2010 and 2013, has been a director of the GPDA since 2010, and has previously spoken out on several other issues, being reprimanded for donning a pride flag at last year's Hungarian Grand Prix, before hosting an all-women's karting race prior to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix later that year.

Two-time champion Fernando Alonso also called on Formula One to "do the best thing", while reigning world champion Max Verstappen echoed Vettel's sentiments. 

"When a country is at war it is not right to race there," Verstappen said on day two of pre-season testing in Barcelona.

Formula One had earlier refused to comment on the potential for the race to be relocated, issuing a statement which claimed it "was closely watching the very fluid developments, and at this time has no further comment on the race," and added that it will "continue to monitor the situation very closely."

The FIA has expressed pride at the standard of stewarding in Formula One, in response to Lewis Hamilton's earlier comments on the need for "non-biased stewards" in the upcoming season.

Hamilton, who missed out on a record-breaking eighth title in a controversial finale to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last December, made the comments at 2022's first testing session in Barcelona.

The 37-year-old lost his title to Red Bull's Max Verstappen in the final seconds of the season, after since-removed race director Michael Masi unlapped a series of cars to permit one final lap of racing, with the Dutchman on new tyres.

Hamilton criticised the officiating of F1 in a news conference, insisting that some drivers "are very good friends with certain individuals" and claiming a requirement for "non-biased stewards".

In response, a spokesman for the sport's governing body said: "The FIA is proud of its global stewarding pathway that connects and develops the most talented stewards from across motorsport."

"This has resulted in a strong, independent and experienced group of officials who carry out their work with impartiality and the utmost professionalism."

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had earlier disagreed with Hamilton's comments, saying he did not think there was a "conscious bias" towards any teams.

Hamilton completed 50 laps in Mercedes' new W13 car in Barcelona, and will kick-start his attempt to regain the title at the Bahrain Grand Prix next month. Meanwhile, his team are looking to extend their record-breaking run of eight successive constructors' titles, which began in 2014.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and his Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner have pledged to move on from the fierce rivalry that engulfed Formula One's leading teams last season.

December's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix saw Red Bull's Max Verstappen win his first Drivers' Championship in contentious fashion, after race director Michael Masi elected to unlap cars between Verstappen and leader Lewis Hamilton, permitting one lap of racing which saw the Dutchman snatch the title in the season's final seconds.

Mercedes reacted furiously to the result and rumours spread that a disillusioned Hamilton could even quit the sport, while Masi was removed from his role ahead of the 2022 season, with two new race directors appointed in his place.

Hamilton, however, will be going for an eighth world title this season and speaking at the first testing session in Barcelona, both Wolff and Horner were keen to draw a line under the events of 2021, and look ahead to the upcoming campaign.

"It [the rivalry] is to be expected," Wolff said in a news conference. "It got fierce at times and brutal, But there's a lot at stake.

"It's a Formula One world championship, there's the fighting on-track, and the fighting off-track for advantages. That's okay.

"But we need to move on. There's been so much talk about Abu Dhabi, it came to a point that it was really damaging for all stakeholders of F1, and we've closed the chapter and moved on.

"Now it's about 2022, the game is on again, all points to zero, new opportunity and new risk."

Lewis Hamilton insisted Formula One must ensure that there is no bias from stewards heading into the 2022 season.

Hamilton was beaten by Red Bull's Max Verstappen in a contentious conclusion to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, after race director Michael Masi elected to allow a series of cars to pass a late safety car, permitting one lap of racing with the Dutchman on new tyres.

Masi has since been removed from his role, while rumours abounded that Hamilton could leave the sport, though the seven-time world champion last week confirmed he would be racing once again for Mercedes this season.

Two new race directors will share the role Masi has vacated.

At the first testing session in Barcelona ahead of the new campaign, which starts on March 20 in Bahrain, Hamilton was asked if the changes would result in more consistent decision-making.

"We need to make sure we have non-biased stewards, too," the 37-year-old said.

"Racing drivers, some are very good friends with certain individuals, some travel with certain individuals and tend to take more of a keen liking to some of them.

"I think [we need] people who have no bias, are super central when it comes to making decisions."

Hamilton's belief is not shared by his team's boss, Toto Wolff, however.

"I think we need professionalism in the stewards' room," said Wolff in a news conference.

"I don't think there is a conscious bias to be honest. It's intelligent people."

Red Bull's Christian Horner, who has a not-so-secret rivalry with his Mercedes counterpart, agreed.

"I would agree with Toto that I don't think there's an intended bias. I'm not aware of any stewards travelling with drivers to races," he added.

"In [FIA president] Mohammed [ben Sulayem] we have a new president that is looking to bolster the structure and bring in an equivalent of a VAR [video assistant referee, used in football], and I think giving a better infrastructure for clearer decisions with clearer regulations is something that should be strived for.

"But I certainly don't think there was any bias from any stewards during the last seasons."

Fernando Alonso is relishing the new regulations in Formula One for 2022, saying they give teams hope that "everything can change".

Alpine released their new car for the year in Paris on Monday and the 40-year-old is in an optimistic mood.

The team finished fifth in the constructors' championship last season, with Esteban Ocon winning a dramatic race in Hungary.

Alonso hopes the varying new rules will help to level the playing field and make that kind of result more common.

"Second year with Alpine and yeah, I'm more optimistic than last year, probably because the new rules give you that hope that everything can change," Alonso said.

"You can certainly be competitive from race one. So, I'm optimistic, confident. The team did a good job with the car and we're ready to go.

"I'm very excited about the new regulations. Obviously, from time to time, Formula One change [the regulations] and try to mix a little bit of performance from everybody.  

"And for Alpine or some of the midfield teams that we were last year, there is an opportunity for sure. 

"If we do a good job interpreting the rules and maximising every opportunity, this year is going to be important. So, everyone in the team feels that we can do it and we are ready to go.

"Probably the best thing or the hope is that we can follow each other closer on track, so maybe that provides more action, more overtaking opportunities, close fights and that's probably better for everybody, for the show, for the spectators, but also for us drivers.

"We have been asking for closer racing between cars, especially in the corners. We will have to wait and see if these regulations allow closer racing, but I will never be upset with the idea of more exciting racing. 

"The sport is moving in the right direction off track too, thanks to the introduction of things like a budget cap. We hope it can bring more fairer racing to stop others outspending the rest."

While Ocon got the race win last year, he still finished behind veteran Alonso, who came 10th in the drivers' standings.

The Spaniard says he has a close bond with his younger team-mate.

Alonso added: "The relationship with Esteban has been better and better from race one last year.

"Until now, race one this year, over 2021 I think we had good fun together, we work together, and we understood that it's the best thing for the team and for the performance of ourselves as well. 

"And yet during the winter it was a long period that we didn't see each other so we were texting sometimes, and we have a WhatsApp group, and we were having fun and obviously missing each other a little bit.

"So now it's time to race again together and help the team to move forward.

"The new car – I really like the livery, I like the colours, the combination. Obviously, the technical side of it, we have to keep it secret and we have to first hit the track and see how it behaves."

Lewis Hamilton has denied reports he was considering leaving Formula One, as the seven-time Drivers Champion looks to bounce back from the controversial finale to the 2021 season.

Hamilton was beaten by Red Bull's Max Verstappen in a contentious conclusion to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, after race director Michael Masi elected to allow a series of cars to pass a late safety car, permitting one lap of racing with the Dutchman on new tyres.

Masi has since been removed from his role, while rumours abounded that Hamilton could leave the sport. But, speaking at the launch of Mercedes' new W13 car, Hamilton denied that his return was ever in question.

"I never, ever said that I was going to stop", he said. "I love doing what I do, and it is such a privilege working with this large group of people.

"You really feel like you're part of a team and part of a family, working towards that common goal. There's no feeling quite like it.

"But was obviously a difficult time for me, and it was a time where I really needed to take a step back and focus on being present."

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had previously hinted that Hamilton was left 'disillusioned' by finishing second, but the 37-year-old now claims to be focused on making a successful start to the 2022 season next month.

He also expressed his excitement at working with new teammate George Russell, who has replaced Valtteri Bottas after leaving Williams in the off-season.

"I eventually got to a point where I decided I was going to be attacking, coming into another season working with Toto and George," he added.

"It's exciting seeing George come in and bring his energy. I can already feel that throughout the team. I think it's going to be an exciting season."

The launch of the W13 sees the German constructor return to its classic silver livery after two years using a black colourway, as part of an anti-racism campaign, and the car has been advertised by Mercedes as '98 per cent new' and as 'the product of a complete redesign from top to bottom'.

With the team bidding for a ninth consecutive Constructors' Championship title, Hamilton is keen to ensure standards remain high.

He said: "Naturally, every single individual within this team has worked towards the ultimate goal of winning the world championship, raising the bar and doing something that no one else has done before."

Ferrari chief Mattia Binotto said being "competitive" was the team's ambition for 2022 as he unveiled the new F1-75 car – warning Mercedes and Red Bull would be tough to catch.

A sleek look meant Ferrari could be happy about their design work, but Binotto was adamant the proof would come on the track when the car's true pace against the rest of the field can be gauged. It was 2019 when the team last won races.

"I would like the F1-75 to be the car that allows our fans to once again be proud of Ferrari," he said. "Our goal is to reignite the Prancing Horse legend and we can only do that by winning again."

Those words came in a bullish statement, and the team principal was perhaps more guarded about the prospects for topping the podium and championship success when he spoke at the launch.

"That is not our target, it is our ambition, because we are Ferrari," Binotto said. "I think we need to be somehow realistic, and if I look at last year the gap to the best was certainly very big at the end of the season.

"It means that those teams are very strong and if they have been strong in the past, they will continue to be very strong. So, they are still for us a benchmark.

"Our objective is to be back competitive, and for me being competitive means somehow being capable of winning races, and somehow try to go to each single race and to fight for the best position."

He said Ferrari's staff had been "brave", "united" and "open-minded" in coming up with the new car and backed drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz as having "the right talent, the right capacity, the right mentality and the right approach" for the job that lies ahead.

"They are part of the team; they know to be on the podium, the best position on the podium, we need our car to be sufficiently fast to achieve it," Binotto said, in a video interview published on the official F1 website.

"Our objective together is to try to develop the car as much as we can, certainly at the start of the season to exploit it to the maximum of its potential, and let's see if our car will be fast enough to be capable to battle for the best position."

A host of technical changes in the sport this year have cast uncertainty on how the season might play out, but Binotto expects Ferrari, a distant third in the constructors' championship last year, will face a major challenge to reel in Mercedes and Red Bull. The team are not shying away from that, though.

Leclerc said: "We've got great people here in Ferrari, hopefully great drivers too, and hopefully when we put everything together on track, we'll be able to fight for wins."

Sainz is in the process of discussing a new contract, to keep him with the team beyond the end of 2022, and the Spanish driver said of those talks: "They're progressing. I'm very happy in Ferrari. We are both happy with each other. It's just now a matter of getting to agree on what's going to happen in the future. I hope we have something to tell you in the near future."

Michael Masi will no longer serve as Formula One race director following a "detailed analysis" of last year's controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Masi's call to unlap cars between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to permit one lap of racing, allowing the Red Bull superstar to snatch the title, was widely criticised and has resulted in his removal from his role.

But that is not the only change to be introduced in 2022 as part of an "in-depth reform of the organisation of refereeing and race direction", which was presented on Thursday by FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

As the FIA aims to move on from an episode that marred one of the greatest seasons in F1 history, Ben Sulayem outlined four key areas for reform.

"These changes will enable us to start the 2022 Formula One season in the best conditions, and our sport will be even more loved and respected," he said.

But what are these changes – billed as offering a "new step forward in Formula One refereeing" – and why have they been made?


As well as to ensure competition rules are enforced, these changes have been made to ease the pressure on the race director.

Masi's decision was all about an interpretation of the regulations, rather than an error based on an absence of technology, but Ben Sulayem feels the race director moving forward will benefit from additional support.

For this reason, a "virtual race control room" will be created to "assist the race director in the decision-making process".

"In real-time connection with the FIA F1 race director, it will help to apply the sporting regulations using the most modern technological tools," Ben Sulayem said.

If this sounds like football's VAR being introduced to F1, the FIA thinks so too. In his speech on Thursday, Ben Sulayem drew parallels with VAR, which operates outside of stadiums but assists match referees. The virtual race control room will similarly be positioned away from the circuit at FIA offices.


In the aftermath of the Abu Dhabi GP, as F1 fans on both sides of the title divide raged, Masi was not helped by the official broadcast.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff fumed at Masi's decision to expose Hamilton, and Masi replied: "Toto, it's called a motor race, okay?"

This conversation, as with numerous exchanges throughout races, was relayed to those watching on television.

Leaked footage in recent weeks has suggested Red Bull implored Masi to make that judgement, using the same term in asking for "a motor race".

This conversation was not actually heard at the time, but Masi certainly did not benefit from being on display to the world as he made the biggest call of his career.

These direct radio communications will no longer be broadcast, Ben Sulayem revealed, "to protect the race director from any pressure and allow him to take decisions peacefully".

"It will still be possible to ask questions to the race director, according to a well-defined and non-intrusive process," the FIA president added.


Part of the difficulty in Abu Dhabi was that even seasoned F1 watchers were unsure if Masi had acted correctly. Red Bull clearly thought he had done; Mercedes, unsurprisingly, disagreed.

Should a similar scenario arise again, the FIA would hope its race director would have a clear idea of the process.

"Unlapping procedures behind safety car will be reassessed by the F1 sporting advisory committee and presented to the next F1 commission prior to the start of the season," Ben Sulayem said.


Masi will be offered a role elsewhere in the FIA after he "accomplished a very challenging job" across three years, but rather than being replaced by a single new race director, the governing body is putting in place "a new race management team".

Masi had endured a draining season even before the Abu Dhabi drama, and the load will be shared moving forward.

Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, the two race directors, will act alternately, supported by a permanent senior advisor in Herbie Blash.

With multiple officials now overseeing the 2022 title race, the FIA will hope for less scrutiny of any one individual. The focus on Masi alone at such a crucial stage last year was surely hugely unhelpful.

Michael Masi will no longer serve as race director in Formula One as the fallout from the 2021 finale in Abu Dhabi continues.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem announced on Thursday "an in-depth reform of the organisation of refereeing and race direction" in F1, which was unanimously supported by the teams.

This followed a "detailed analysis" of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen dramatically beat Lewis Hamilton to the drivers' championship last season.

Verstappen pipped Hamilton in the final lap of the final race, denying his rival a record-breaking eighth title.

However, the Red Bull superstar was only able to stage that late recovery after Masi let the cars between the pair – running first and second but separated by a series of lapped rivals – pass a safety car and allow one lap of racing.

Verstappen, on fresher tyres, prevailed, prompting a protest from Hamilton and Mercedes.

Although that bid failed, there has remained a great deal of discussion around Masi's decision-making, leading to Ben Sulayem unveiling his "new step forward in Formula One refereeing".

The most significant change made by the FIA chief is Masi's removal as race director, to be replaced by two men in Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas.

Starting from pre-season testing in Barcelona, the new pair will alternate as race director, assisted by permanent senior advisor Herbie Blash.

However, Masi is not necessarily out entirely, as Ben Sulayem added: "Michael Masi, who accomplished a very challenging job for three years as Formula One race director following Charlie Whiting, will be offered a new position within the FIA."

Other changes include a reassessment of the unlapping procedures that caused such controversy.

"Without the referees, there is no sport," Ben Sulayem said. "Respect and support of the referees is in the essence of the FIA.

"That is why these structural changes are crucial in a context of strong development and the legitimate expectations of drivers, teams, manufacturers, organisers, and of course, the fans.

"I warmly thank all those who contributed to this reform.

"These changes will enable us to start the 2022 Formula One season in the best conditions, and our sport will be even more loved and respected."

Lewis Hamilton appears to be back and ready to chase another Formula One title with Mercedes.

The contentious nature in which Hamilton was denied a record-breaking eighth drivers' championship in 2021 had prompted talk he would quit the sport.

Hamilton was pipped by Max Verstappen in the final seconds of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix following a controversial decision from race director Michael Masi to let the cars between the pair – running first and second but separated by a series of lapped rivals – pass a late safety car and allow one lap of racing.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff warned it was "not possible" for Hamilton to get over the nature of that result, and little has been heard from the Briton since.

But the former McLaren man ended his social media silence earlier this month when he posted: "I've been gone. Now I'm back!"

And Mercedes' own Twitter posts have now revealed Hamilton is back with the team ahead of the launch of their W13 car.

After sharing a picture of Hamilton with the caption "Year 16", the Silver Arrows uploaded footage of new team-mate George Russell being fitted in his seat.

Hamilton appears in the video and greets Russell, and the team added: "Oh wait, Lewis is in this?" A picture of Hamilton with Russell followed.

Hamilton last year signed a contract that ties him to Mercedes through the 2023 season.

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