Dumped Russian ace Nikita Mazepin suing former F1 team Haas
Nikita Mazepin has announced that he's taking legal action against ex-Formula One team Haas, following his controversial sacking in March.
The Russian driver was axed by Haas on the eve of the new Formula One season following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which also saw F1 cancel the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.
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Haas also cancelled their title sponsor deal with Russian fertilizer company Uralkali, owned by Nikita's father Dmitry, and replaced Mazepin with Kevin Magnussen for the 2022 season.
The driver's father Dmitry has been described by the European Union's official journal as a member of Putin's closest circle.
Mazepin's relationship with Haas has soured since his contract was terminated, with the Russian declaring that he wanted to continue racing in spite of the FIA's sanctions on Russian drivers.
The 23-year-old claims he was ignored by Haas and only found out about his termination via the F1 team's press release.
TEAM STATEMENT #HaasF1 pic.twitter.com/5aEXLzYtmV
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) March 5, 2022
Nikita Mazepin suing over unpaid wages
In a dramatic new twist, Mazepin is suing Haas over "salary arrears" he claims he's owed for the 2022 season.
Now, the 23-year-old has said he is taking his former team to court over what he claims are unpaid wages.
“At the termination of the contract Haas had a salary debt to me for this year,” he told reporters.
“And they still haven’t paid it.
“It seems to me that the employer should at least compensate the salary until the moment of termination and probably pay some severance pay.
"And when the whole world kicks you somewhere... that’s probably wrong. But that’s just my opinion.”
Mazepin made it clear that his legal dispute was "personal matter" and not related to Uralkali, who are reportedly seeking reimbursement themselves.
"When the contract was terminated, Haas had a salary arrears to me for 2022. And they still haven’t paid it," he told RBC.
"I’m only talking about the fact that contractual obligations were not fulfilled.
"You also need to understand that we had two independent contracts. And breaking the agreement with the title sponsor did not have a direct impact on my future in the team.
"So they [Haas] made two separate decisions. I didn't see my money, so we're going to court."
Mazepin says the court documents have already been filed and that the breakdown of the team’s relationship with Uralkali should have had no effect on his individual contract.
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