Oct.12 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Drivers and team personnel have been ordered to fall silent when the Russian anthem is played on the Sochi grid later on Sunday.
British reports claim the edict, delivered by controversial Russian president Vladimir Putin’s friend Bernie Ecclestone, is “unprecedented” in F1 history.
The email addressed to teams from Ecclestone’s FOM company said there should be “total silence” on the grid when the anthem is played.
“It has been alleged that formula one is one of the most ill-mannered sports in relation to the national anthem and complaints from fans, public, and political institutions are now too heavy to ignore,” it added.
Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper said Putin will be on the grid on Sunday, with his visit to the inaugural grand prix accompanied by unprecedented security measures and reportedly 30 personal bodyguards.
The newspaper also claimed Putin had asked F1 authorities if he could present the trophies on the podium “behind bulletproof glass”.
Meanwhile, it is believed F1 drivers are pushing for a further period of silence on the grid to honour their colleague Jules Bianchi, who is fighting for his life in a Japanese hospital.