Mazepin hits out as Haas sack driver over Russia-Ukraine conflict
Nikita Mazepin's Haas contract has been cancelled, leading the Russian to hit out at the team for abruptly halting his F1 career.
Nikita Mazepin said he was "very disappointed" after Haas sacked him from their driver line-up and cut lucrative ties with Russian backer Uralkali.
Russian racer Mazepin was consistently a backmarker during the 2021 season, his first year on the F1 grid, and was frequently outperformed by team-mate Mick Schumacher. It has been Russia's invasion of Ukraine that has cost him his seat for 2022, however, rather than his results on the track.
Haas sever links with Uralkali
Mazepin's father, Dmitry, has close ties to Vladimir Putin, holding face-to-face business talks with the Russian president as recently as January. Dmitry Mazepin is deputy chairman of Uralkali, the potash producer that has been a major financial backer of Haas. As well as ousting 23-year-old Mazepin, Haas announced the commercial link with Uralkali has also been scrapped with immediate effect. Haas removed the Uralkali logos from their cars for the final day of pre-season testing in Barcelona last month, in keeping with wider efforts to impose sporting sanctions on Russia. The Russian Grand Prix for 2022 has been cancelled, with F1 announcing this week it has terminated its deal for future races in the country.
Mazepin responded to news of his dismissal by Haas on Saturday, stating: "I am very disappointed to hear that my F1 contract has been terminated. While I understand the difficulties, the ruling from FIA 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."
He did not clarify further on those points, but said he would elaborate on his statement in the coming days. "To those who have tried to understand, my eternal thanks," Mazepin added. "I have treasured my time in F1 and genuinely hope we can all be together again in better times."
Before Haas announced their decision, it had already been revealed that Mazepin would be banned from competing at the British Grand Prix.