Nikita Mazepin

Nikita Mazepin Axed From Haas

by Martin Blessing

In the most unexpected and fast-paced news event of the 2022 season, Haas have terminated Nikita Mazepin’ contract with “immediate effect”.

With the disastrous invasion that has taken place in Ukraine over the last week, the knock-on effects for Formula 1 have had serious consequences. Those consequences have hit the American based team the hardest. Their title sponsor, Uralkali, a Russian based fertiliser producer, removed all their insignia from the Haas team on the final day of the testing session in Spain. The growing intensity from the world to show support for the war in Ukraine, has fuelled speculation that Urakali will no longer be in partnership with Haas.

This posed issues for the Russian born driver, Nikita Mazepin. It was no great secret, that he was brought in to the team, as his father, Dmitry Mazepin, is a large shareholder with Urakali. If that partnership ceased to exist, the necessity for Nikita to remain at the team, was highly questionable. It seemed motorsport had given Nikita a glimmer of hope, as the FIA announced they wouldn’t be banning drivers based on their nationality. A move, which other sporting bodies had agreed to take. That wouldn’t remain the case for countries individual racing bodies though. Motorsport UK would announced that no Russian or Belarusian drivers, could partake in events held in the UK.

Nikita Mazepin in the VF-22

With this contentious issue now surrounding the only Russian driver in Formula 1, Haas have formally decided to act, with Nikita no longer partnering Mick Schumacher for the American outfit this season. The Uralkali sponsorship, will also cease to exist at the same time. How Haas will replace the Russian, will likely be with their Brazilian reserve driver, Pietro Fittipaldi. Albeit nothing has been confirmed formally, this would likely be the first assumption. However, a number of drivers have been rumoured to fill the void. Antonio Giovinazzi, now racing in Formula E, could be in line to step in for Haas.

It’s another blow for Haas, who had hoped to start the 2022 season afresh, with a woeful zero-point season in 2021. Financially, they could also be in a spot of bother. With no sponsors lined up to replace Uralkali, Haas could be in a spot of bother when it comes to the much needed cash injection to partake in Formula 1.

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