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Axed Mazepin claims steps to keep racing in F1 “were ignored”

On Saturday morning Haas announced it had terminated its title sponsorship with Russian chemical giant Uralkali, with Mazepin – whose father owns Uralkali – losing his drive for the 2022 season.  

This came as a response to Russia’s widely condemned invasion of Ukraine last week, with countries worldwide imposing sanctions on Russia.  

Motorsport authorities across the globe have made their own responses to the Ukraine war, with F1 governing body the FIA banning Russian and Belarusian competitors from racing under their native flags. 

Motorsport UK has outright banned competitors from both countries from competing in its series.  

Given the Mazepin family’s ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin, Nikita Mazepin’s future in F1 was in doubt.  

In a statement issued on his social media, Mazepin 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 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.  

“I will have more to say in the coming days.” 

 

Haas has yet to make any follow-up announcements on its recent news in regards to who will come onboard as title sponsor and who will replace Mazepin.  

In an interview during Barcelona pre-season testing last month, Haas team boss Gunther Steiner said test driver Pietro Fittipaldi would be first in line should Mazepin lose his seat.  

Fittipaldi contested two races for Haas in 2020 as replacement for the injured Romain Grosjean following his horror Baharin accident. 

For the final day of the Barcelona pre-season test in February, Haas removed all Uralkali branding – which featured the Russian flag colours – from its cars in response to the Ukraine invasion.  

It is unclear at this stage what Haas’ plans will be for next week’s Bahrain F1 pre-season test in the wake of the Mazepin/Uralkali split.  

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