Vitaly Petrov steps down as steward, but not why you think

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

The FIA announced Vitaly Petrov has stepped down as Portuguese Grand Prix Driver steward “due to a personal bereavement”.

The FIA’s choice to appoint Petrov as race steward was criticized by Lewis Hamilton due to the Russian’s comments regarding the ‘taking the knee’ gesture and Hamilton’s “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor” T-shirt.

His appointment was then criticized by LGBTQ+ organisation Racing Pride, as in those same comments he disparagingly mentioned gay people.

On Saturday evening the FIA announced Petrov has stepped down as Driver steward, but for a personal reason. Russian media reports Petrov’s father Alexander Petrov died earlier this evening at the family home in Vyborg. We offer our condolences to Vitaly Petrov and his family.

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“The FIA confirms that, due to a personal bereavement, the Driver Steward for the 2020 FIA Formula 1 Portuguese Grand Prix, Vitaly Petrov, will not continue with his duties for the remainder of the weekend,” read the FIA statement.

“The thoughts of the FIA are with Vitaly and his family at this time.

“Bruno Correia, Safety Car Driver in the FIA Formula E Championship and FIA WTCR will take over the position.”

UPDATE: Reports from Russia say Alexander Petrov was shot in his home. Really disturbing.

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