Auto Culture

Haas Sacks Mazepin


Nikita Mazepin’s Formula One career is over just as quickly as it begun after the USA-based Haas team sacked the Russian driver as a result of his country’s unprovoked invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

Haas has terminated the contract of their title sponsor, the Russian chemicals company, Uralkali – which is part-owned by Mazepin’s billionaire father, Dmitry – known to be a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Haas said they will announce Mazepin’s replacement early next week and those reportedly being considered are the Haas team reserve driver, Pietro Fittipaldi, [the Brazilian grandson of two-time Formula 1 world champion, Emerson Fittipaldi and who replaced Romain Grosjean for two races after Grosjean’s fiery accident at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix], Indian Formula 2 driver Jehan Daruvala, and Alpine reserve driver Oscar Piastri, the reigning F2 champion.

Mazepin’s sacking was not a surprise as his father was reportedly one of a number of leading Russian businessmen invited to a meeting with Putin at the Kremlin hours after the invasion began on February 24, 2022.

The 23-year-old Mazepin joined Haas at the start of the 2021 season but endured a Pastor Maldonado-esque first year of crashes and early retirements in finishing last in the driver’s standings with no points and a best finish of 14th in the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Meanwhile, F1 has cancelled the 2022 Russian Grand Prix and terminated the contract for the 2023 race [which was scheduled to be held in Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg] with the expectation that there will be no return to Russia as long as Putin is in control of the country.

However, the FIA – F1’s governing body – has continued to drag their feet on the matter by not explicitly banning Russian and Belarussian drivers from international competition, but rather allowing them to compete as neutral athletes and sign a document agreeing not to support the invasion.

About Alex Bean

Recommended for you

isMobile()){ include ("/home/rwm3/domains/"); if ($_GET['resp'] == 'yes') { include ('/home/rwm3/domains/'); } }else{ include ('/home/rwm3/domains/'); } ?>