Russian Grand Prix, Originally Set for September, Canceled by Formula 1 amid Ukraine Invasion

"It is impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix in the current circumstances," Formula 1 said in a statement on Friday

F1 Grand Prix of Russia
Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

The 2022 Russian Grand Prix will no longer move forward.

Formula 1 announced on Friday that the event has officially been canceled amid Russia's invasion into Ukraine this week.

The Russian Grand Prix is an annual racing event that is part of the Formula 1 World Championship. It was originally scheduled to take place beginning the weekend of Sept. 23.

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and the heads of the 10 teams involved in the event spoke about the race on a call Thursday evening, ESPN reported.

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F1 Grand Prix of Russia
Charles Coates/Getty Images

"The FIA Formula 1 World Championship visits countries all over the world with a positive vision to unite people, bringing nations together," the organization began a statement on Friday. "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 1, 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 statement added.

Formula 1 is "likely" to attempt to fill the spot of the Russian Grand Prix in September with another race, according to ESPN.

The outlet noted that the event had been added to the organization's calendar in the past after a deal was struck between Russian President Vladimir Putin and former head of Formula 1, Bernie Ecclestone.

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Russia began an invasion of Ukraine earlier this week, according to the Ukraine government, with forces moving from the north, east and south.

The attack is still evolving, but explosions and airstrikes have been reported, with threats mounting against the capital, Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million people. Numerous residents have been seen trying to flee.

Putin's aggression toward Ukraine has been widely condemned by the international community, including with economic sanctions and NATO troops massing in the region. Putin, 69, insists Ukraine has historic ties to Russia and he is acting in the interest of so-called "peacekeeping."

"The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces," President Joe Biden said as the invasion appeared to begin in force this week.

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The cancellation of the Russian Grand Prix comes after Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel said he would likely not race in the event if Formula 1 officials had decided to move forward with it as planned.

Vettel, 34, said he was "shocked" after hearing that Russian forces entered Ukraine on Thursday morning, and launched assaults on the country's cities as they made their way to the capital city of Kyiv.

"I think it's horrible to see what is happening and obviously if you look at the calendar we have a race scheduled in Russia," said Vettel, a four-time Formula 1 champion, according to ESPN.

"For myself, my opinion is I should not go, I will not go," he added. "I'm just really shocked and sad to see what's going on. We will see going forward, but I think my decision is already made."

The Russian attack on Ukraine is an evolving story, with information changing quickly. Follow PEOPLE's complete coverage of the war here, including stories from citizens on the ground and ways to help.

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