Russian star cops brutal new $150 million blow after F1 sacking

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Nikita and Dmitry Mazepin, pictured here in happier times.
Nikita and Dmitry Mazepin have had their Italian villa seized by authorities. Image: Getty

Nikita Mazepin and his oligarch father Dimitry have copped a $150 million blow after the former F1 driver said he 'intends to fight' all sanctions against him.

On Monday, Italian authorities seized properties worth some 105 million euros ($154 million) owned by the Mazepins over their connection to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

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The police operation targeted a villa - known as Rocky Ram - located in the north of the island of Sardinia.

It is part of broader efforts aimed at penalising wealthy Russians linked to Putin after the invasion of Ukraine in February.

Mazepin - who was sacked in March by American F1 team Haas - has been included in an EU sanctions list along with father Dmitry, who the European Union's official journal described as a member of Putin's closest circle.

Over the last few weeks, Italian police have sequestered villas and yachts worth over 900 million euros from wealthy Russians who were placed on sanctions lists following the Ukraine conflict.

The most valuable asset seized so far is a superyacht owned by billionaire Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko, worth around 530 million euros, which was impounded in the northern port of Trieste.

Nikita Mazepin 'intends to fight' all sanctions

Mazepin had already been banned from competing in the British Grand Prix before he was sensationally sacked.

Motorsport UK broke ranks with the FIA and announced that no Russian or Belarusian-licensed entries would be allowed to compete.

FIA's World Motor Sport Council had followed by saying that Russians and Belarusians had to sign a Driver Commitment form which included they can not "express any support (direct or indirect) for the Russian and/or Belarusian activities in respect of Ukraine."

Nikita Mazepin, pictured here in action for Haas before his sacking.
Nikita Mazepin in action for Haas before his sacking. (Photo by Hasan Bratic/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

But Hass then decided they couldn't keep employing Mazepin and gave him his marching orders.

However the 23-year-old says he fully intends to challenge his axing and overturn all sanctions imposed on him.

"I don't agree with being in the sanctions," Mazepin told BBC's Hardtalk programme.

"I've said previously that I intend to fight it.

"Perhaps now is not the right time because if you look at the whole situation that's happening against athletes in the general case, it's cancel culture against my country."

Dmitry Mazepin is deputy chairman of Uralkali, the potash producer that had been a major financial backer of Haas.

Vladimir Putin, pictured here with Dmitry Mazepin at the Expo 2017 in Kazakhstan.
Vladimir Putin speaks with Dmitry Mazepin at the Expo 2017 in Kazakhstan. (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

As well as ousting Mazepin, Haas announced last month that the commercial link with Uralkali had also been scrapped with immediate effect.

Mazepin made his debut last season in an all-rookie line-up alongside Mick Schumacher, but his place on the team was only guaranteed by the sponsorship deal between Haas and Uralkali.

Asked for his thoughts on the ongoing events in Ukraine, Nikita Mazepin said: "It's very painful to watch that on many levels.

"My feeling obviously changed as a human being and as a person who wants to live in a very peaceful world.

"But I see tremendous risks in saying anything at all about this case because I will never satisfy everyone and therefore I will keep myself publicly quiet."

with agencies

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