Leading politicians pile pressure on F1 to cancel October’s Russian GP (Update)

UPDATE Deputy British PM Nick Clegg demanded that organizers of the Russian Grand Prix "be stripped of the right to host the race." While Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, was not speaking for the government in his call for the race to be canceled, "it now poses the question as to what Downing Street's view is." Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander had previously said that FIFA "should be making contingency plans for moving the 2018 World Cup due to be held in Russia, suggesting Labour may also be against the grand prix in Sochi." TELEGRAPH

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Senior politicians cast doubt on the Russian Grand Prix on Tuesday night and called for the race to be cancelled. The event in Sochi has been thrust into the limelight after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed in Ukraine, killing 298 people, with the sport anxiously watching developments.

On the day relations between Britain and Russia plummeted further, with a public inquiry into the death of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, F1 has come under attack from politicians and academics.

Conservative MP David Davis, a former minister in the Foreign Office and shadow home secretary, said that the race on Oct 12 should be called off. "If Russia continues as they have been doing, then the grand prix is one of many things that they should be denied," he said. "The morally proper thing to do is put the race on hold.

"F1 already had a problem in the past with Bahrain. Whilst I'm not particularly in favor of cancelling sports events at the drop of a hat, I think that Formula One should reflect the global outrage. It would be an important and appropriate response to cancel the race."

The affair is reminiscent of the controversies surrounding recent Bahrain Grands Prix. Even with protesters and bloodshed on the streets, the teams avoided trouble but it was a PR disaster.

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