'Completely ignored': Nikita Mazepin responds to brutal Haas axing

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·Sports Reporter
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Russian driver Nikita Mazepin says his willingness to go along with any FIA ruling was 'ignored' as the Haas F1 team terminated his contract. (Photo by Lars Baron - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Russian driver Nikita Mazepin says his willingness to go along with any FIA ruling was 'ignored' as the Haas F1 team terminated his contract. (Photo by Lars Baron - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Nikita Mazepin has taken a potshot at the FIA and the Haas F1 team in the wake of his contract with the team being terminated amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In addition to Haas severing ties with the Russian driver, they have also withdrawn from title sponsorship arrangements with chemicals company Uralkali, which is part-owned by Mazepin's father Dmitry.

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Mazepin had already been banned from competing in the British Grand Prix, when Motorsport UK broke ranks with the FIA last week and announced no Russian-licensed entries would be allowed to compete.

The FIA had previously recommended Russian drivers race under a neutral flag.

Haas did not immediately announce a replacement to race alongside German Mick Schumacher, but team boss Guenther Steiner said last week Brazilian reserve Pietro Fittipaldi would get the "first call".

Mazepin's future was already uncertain after Haas removed branding for Uralkali, a Russian potash producer, from their car on the last day of the Barcelona test last week in the wake of Russia's February 24 invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

The driver's place at Haas was only guaranteed by the sponsorship deal between Haas and Uralkali.

In the wake of the announcement, the 23-year-old said he was disappointed to be leaving the sport, and said both Haas and the FIA had refused to meet halfway.

“Dear fans and followers, I am very disappointed to hear that my F1 contract has been terminated,” Mazepin said posted on social media.

“While I understand the difficulties, the ruling from FlA plus my ongoing willingness to accept the conditions proposed in order to continue were completely ignored and no process was followed in this 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. Nikita.”

Haas cut ties to Russia's wealthy Mazepin family

Mazepin made his debut last season in an all-rookie line-up with Schumacher.

The only Russian on the grid, he would have been allowed to race in a neutral capacity, according to a decision by the FIA's World Motor Sport Council.

But his participation in individual races would have been in doubt, especially after Motorsport UK banned Russian and Belarusian license holders from competing in the country, raising the prospect of other national motorsport federations doing the same.

FIS had followed up Friday saying that Russians and Belarusians must 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 has been banned from the British GP.
Motorsport UK has announced Russian and Belarusian drivers will be banned from the 2022 British Grand Prix, ruling out Hass driver Nikita Mazepin. (Photo by DeFodi Images/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

The Haas F1 team announced the decision to terminate their contract with Mazepin over the weekend.

"Haas F1 team has elected to terminate, with immediate effect, the title partnership of Uralkali, and the driver contract of Nikita Mazepin," the team said in a statement.

"As with the rest of the Formula One community, the team is shocked and saddened by the invasion of Ukraine and wishes for a swift and peaceful end to the conflict."

F1 has already announced it will no longer race in Russia after terminating its Russian Grand Prix contract, originally set to expire in 2025.

The sport had already called off its 2022 race in the country.

Formula One will hold its final pre-season test in Bahrain from March 10 to 12.

The season gets underway in the island kingdom on March 20.

With AAP

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