Russian driver Nikita Mazepin will not compete in Formula 1 for the Haas team. The team confirmed the athlete’s departure as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the social and economic effects of the conflict. The pilot said he was ‘very disappointed’ with the decision.
In addition to Mazepin, Haas also broke his contract with the team’s main sponsor, UralKali, owned by mogul Dmitry Mazepin, Nikita’s father.
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“Dear fans and followers, I am very disappointed to learn that my contract with F1 has been terminated. While I understand the difficulties, the FIA’s decision and my willingness to accept the proposed conditions to continue have been completely ignored and no process has been followed at this unilateral step.”
“To those who 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 stay in the next few days. Nikita,” she added.
The decision could put Brazil back on the Formula 1 grid. That gives Haas two options to replace Nikita Mazepin. One of them is the Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi, grandson of the two-time world champion Emerson Fittipaldi and who has already competed in two races for the team in 2020. The other is the Italian Antonio Giovinazzi, holder of Dragon Racing in Formula E and who competed in F1 between 2019 and 2021 with the Alfa Romeo.
Gunther Steiner, head of Haas, even told journalist Bob Varsha that Fittipaldi was the right choice. “If Nikita can’t race, for one reason or another, the first option will be Pietro. Obviously, he’s been with us for a few years. And then we’ll see what we would do next. In recent years we needed a backup pilot with Covid around. Pietro has always been around, knows the team, knows the car. To jump from one day to the next, there is no one better than Pietro,” he said.
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