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F1 | Mazepin expresses his displeasure at being "completely ignored" by Haas

Former Haas driver Nikita Mazepin has slammed the Haas team for ignoring his acceptance of sanctions that the FIA have put in place for Russian and Belarussian competitors in the wake of the former’s invasion of Ukraine.

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F1 | Mazepin expresses his displeasure at being "completely ignored" by Haas
Fuente imagen: Hasan Bratic-Motorlat

Nikita Mazepin has lambasted Haas for ignoring his offer of acceptance regarding the FIA’s recent sanctions of Russian and Belarussian drivers.

The Russian, who had already been a lightning rod for controversy after several on track and off-track incidents in his junior racing career, was set to continue with Haas despite having a dreadful rookie year that saw him score no points and finish 21st in the driver’s standings.

Before the first scheduled test session in Barcelona began, Mazepin had shaken down the sleek Haas VF-22, and he had managed to get some laps under his belt despite the car’s early technical difficulties. However, after that promising, albeit tricky start to the season, events away from Spain caused dark clouds to swirl over the Russian’s future. 

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Haas immediately removed all traces of title sponsor Uralkali and the Russian flag off their cars and transporters, with the team running an all-white livery on the final day of the test as an act of solidarity with Ukraine.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner then added to the mounting speculation by stating in a press conference that Mazepin’s future wasn’t safe and that he wanted the sponsorship crisis sorted out sooner rather than later.

Things got even worse for Mazepin after Motorsport UK banned all Russian and Belarusian competitors from taking part in events held in Great Britain, including the British Grand Prix meeting. However Russian and Belarusian competitors narrowly escaped a blanket ban from the FIA who instead required them to race under the “FIA flag”. 

Not that Haas would have to worry about finding a replacement driver for that weekend, as the team announced yesterday that they had terminated their sponsorship deal with Uralkali.

In a statement, the team also confirmed that Mazepin would also depart from the team with immediate effect, meaning that for the first time in nine years, there would be no Russian driver on the Formula 1 grid.

“Haas F1 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 1 community, the team is shocked and saddened by the invasion of Ukraine and wishes for a swift and peaceful end to the conflict.”

Shortly afterwards, Mazepin released his own statement where he expressed his disgust at how his sacking from the team was handled.

“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 the 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 again in better times.”

Mazepin’s replacement hasn’t been announced at the time of writing.

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