Haas drop Nikita Mazepin ahead of 2022 season amid Russian invasion of Ukraine
The Haas F1 team has announced they will be terminating Nikita Mazepin’s contract with immediate effect.
With just one week until pre-season testing in Bahrain – kicking off on March 10 – a swift decision was made in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
His father, oligarch Dmitry Mazepin, is a part-owner of Haas’ title sponsor, Uralkali, and is a known associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In light of his attachment to the Russian President, Haas also confirmed its partnership with Uralkali has been terminated.
A statement released by the team read: “Haas F1 Team has elected to terminate, with immediate effect, the title partnership of Uralkali, and the driver contract of Nikita Mazepin.
“As with the rest of the Formula One community, the team is shocked and saddened by the invasion of Ukraine and wishes for a swift and peaceful end to the conflict.”
Early last week, the FIA made a decision to allow Russian drivers to continue racing under a neutral flag – and also disallowed any Russian flags or colours being displayed by any team.
The sporting federation said that all drivers had to agree to its principles of peace and neutrality and “acknowledge the strong commitment made by the FIA to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, the Federation Automobile d’Ukraine, and all of those suffering as a result of the ongoing conflict.”
In response to his termination, Nikita Mazepin released a statement on social media saying his efforts to agree to the terms set out by the FIA were ignored.
He said: “Dear fans and followers, I am very disappointed to hear that my F1 contract has been terminated.
“While I understand the difficulties, the ruling from FIA plus my ongoing willingness to accept the conditions proposed in order to continue were completely ignored and no process was followed in this unilateral step.
“To those who have tried to understand, my eternal thanks. I have treasured my time in F1 and genuinely hope we can all be together in better times. I will have more to say in the coming days.”
The Russian driver’s replacement will be revealed this week coming.
In other related news, Formula 1 also ended its contract with the Russian Grand Prix, and Motorsport UK announced Russian-licenced drivers will be banned from competing in the UK.