Nikita Mazepin, Haas, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Official F1 entry list describes Mazepin’s nationality as ‘RAF’

2021 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Nikita Mazepin will be entered as a neutral athlete of Russia for his first Formula 1 season, with ‘RAF’ appearing in place of a flag next to his name.

State-sponsored doping in Russia has led to athletes from the country being banned from using its flag at major international competitions in many disciplines, including Formula 1. It followed a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on a ruling of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The entry list for the Bahrain Grand Prix describes Mazepin’s nationality as ‘RAF’. This has been permitted instead of the phrase ‘Russian Automobile Federation’, as the federation itself is representative of Russia.

Although Mazepin’s licence is issued through the RAF, Mazepin cannot be officially described as a Russian athlete this year. He may only use descriptions relating to ‘Russia’ if they are given equal prominence to the term ‘neutral athlete’.

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The CAS decision also prevents athletes from “publicly display the flag of the Russian Federation (current or historical), the name ‘Russia’ or any national emblem or national symbol on their clothing at any official facilities or in other areas controlled by the FIA ​​or the organisers of FIA competitions”.

The livery and overalls of Mazepin’s Haas team have attracted attention as they incorporate blue, red and white stripes similar to that of the Russian flag – which Mazepin is forbidden from using. His team principal Guenther Steiner confirmed today the car’s livery is “the same as it was in the test” last week.

The CAS ban on Russian entries continues through to the end of 2022, meaning Mazepin will have to spend two seasons in F1 before he can race under his country’s flag.

The situation is different for Russian’s only Formula 2 driver Robert Shwartzman due to the lower status of the support series. The entry list for the season-opener at Bahrain lists the Ferrari Driver Academy member as racing using a Russian license, and his car and overalls display the Russian flag next to his name.

The race organisers will also be allowed to display the Russian flag if Shwartzman finishes on the podium.

Update: An earlier version of this article stated the Russian flag could not be used during Formula 2 podium ceremonies. This has been corrected.

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Elliot Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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39 comments on “Official F1 entry list describes Mazepin’s nationality as ‘RAF’”

  1. What does RAF stand for in this context?

    1. “Russian Automobile Association”. But can’t use “Russian Automobile Association” and cannot use the Russian flag. Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

  2. Now come on, RAF? That’s just asking for him to dive-bomb someone…

      1. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
        26th March 2021, 3:39

        Hahahaaha good one

    1. Being ex RAF I don’t know if I should be offended or not by Mazepin racing under the RAF moniker lol.

      1. It’s the internet Foggy – you HAVE to be offended here of course :)

  3. Who knew the fia and fom could be beaten at politics. Raf is a nice compromise for an absolutely awful situation.

  4. This whole thing is a joke designed to punish Russia, and drag them through the mud.

    Will F1 be in Russia? Why did Kvyat sport a Russian flag?

    Either ban them or let them carry their flag.

    What is next? American team will loose the flag because some state sponsored racism?

    Just a terrible situation.

    1. Yes, it’s a punishment to Russia for cheating, well caught on.

      Yes, F1 will be in Russia, and Russian athletes can still compete, this is not part of the punishment out of mercy to the athletes and other parties involved.

      Kvyat is likely not driving in F1 this year, so he will in fact have zero flags shown unless he needs to replace one of the Renault lads. In which case he will also get a neutral flag.

      America? What? About? Ism?

      Yes, facilitating and/or making a ton of your athletes take doping to win at sports is indeed a terrible situation. Let’s hope the punishment and subsequent embarassment is enough to prevent them from doing it again, as they only narrowly avoided a more severe penalty this time.

      1. > for cheating

        Wasn’t proven.

        > out of mercy to the athletes

        We shouldn’t need such kind of mercy from a corrupt entity like WADA.

        > What? About? Ism?

        Yes, whataboutism. Because someone should better get better themselves than bomb other countries with either actual bombs or (where it knows the response would be unbearable) with ridiculous allegations.

        Reply moderated
        1. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
          26th March 2021, 3:41

          Peter, you said it well. Why the mod? No idea. But yes, I have a friend “outside the western side” (Pakistan) and she told me how when the bombs drop, there are many “unwanted casualties” that never get totally clarified.

        2. The cheating was proven, @Peter.

          Not necessarily the cheating of individual athletes but the systematic cheating and cover-ups which made it impossible to identify which athletes were cheating.

          But off course you can also blame those who investigated it. There are whole groups who dedicate themselves to spreading conspiracy theories.

          1. I agree with @coldfly the sport federations involved were cheating (dope) and these rules are to give the individual athletes the chance to compete but punish the organisation behind the cheating.

            So please refrane from comments against proven facts it question your integrity.

        3. Of course it was proven.
          Russia got what they deserved.
          RAF should not be allowed
          The Haas livery should not be allowed.

          Rules in sports are there for a reason and when a country systematically breaks them by cheating it can’t go unpunished.

          All you’re doing is being an apologist.

        4. I’m sure the people involved in the doping programmes in Russia were punished as well… but not for doping Russian athletes, if they were punished it’d more likely be because they weren’t better at hiding it.

          In Russia you do what you can get away with, morals are way down the list of priorities. I had a Russian girlfriend for 4 years and visited her family in Russia often. The corruption is through the roof, everywhere.

    2. Coventry Climax
      25th March 2021, 23:10

      In addition to @Aiii‘s comment, I’d personally like to add that I think it is completely ridiculous that all governing bodies of F1 allow Haas to keep the russian flag -which it clearly is- on their car’s. No, it may not be their actual task, but that’s like saying it’s the police’s responsability to keep you from speeding. But then, it’s those same governing bodies that decide to go race in countries where the money is good, but everything else isn’t. Or strike secret deals with those that have cheated.

    3. Um, Russia cheated in sports so obviously punishing them in sports is also fair. And remember, this is state sponsored cheating, not one or two private atheletes.

      And Russia is banned by the way – that is why the the flags can’t be carried in the first place. The individual atheles are only banned if they participated. Mazepin did not participate in any drug cheating but his country did and is currently undergoing punishment. Mazepin wants to blame somebody, blame Russia.

  5. Wouldn’t have been allowed in the RAF back then.

    1. Quite right Squiffy, no-one would understand his banter, what what.

  6. I’m sure Vlad will be crying himself to sleep.

  7. Given Kvyat has raced under a Russian flag 3 months ago in Formula 1, has Haas caught too much attention to WADA with their livery and thus penalise the team and in so doing Mazepin with Russian flagship?

    There might surely be something I am missing, though.

    1. @jeff1s Yes, there is something you’re missing – the WADA ruling about the use of the name Russia and Russian flag etc only came along a couple of months ago, after the end of last season. So Kvyat wasn’t affected at all.

  8. makes you wonder, what is the national anthem for the RAF? Surely the russian anthem would be banned wouldn’t it?

    1. @cdfemke – maybe everyone will just whistle awkwardly.

    2. Oh man, that would be hilarious if he won a race wouldn’t it.

      Chances of it happening are zero but you made me smile just thinking about it.

      1. If I was ever good enough to be an F1 driver and win, I’d, A struggle the notion of having to represent a country I don’t believe in and, B refuse to be standing up to God Save your Queen.
        Why do driver need to be represent a country anyway, seems a dated idea 🤔

        Reply moderated
        1. Probably why you will not race F1 to begin with, you won’t be finding much sponsors with that attitude even if you are very very good.

    3. @cdfemke I don’t think FIA has its own anthem? What makes it interesting if that somehow happens I think they will only play american national anthem :)

    4. My vote: the 10 hour loop of nyan cat

      1. Oh no how could I forget: of course that Russian hardbase used on Kvyat torpedo memes!

    5. I don’t think we will find out what they will play, as I doubt Mazepin will get close to a podium this year – or probably any year…

    6. Drunk guy playing ‘Happy Birthday’ on the trumpet?

    7. Going for Sigue Sigue Sputnik.

  9. “RaceFans understands the Prema driver will also have no flag or anthem on the podium if he wins a race.”

    This is now officially debunked by the Formula 2 press centre, so you may (should?) correct the statement.

    Source: championat dot com /auto

  10. I don’t understand why they allow the livery which is a HUGE russian flag.

    Reply moderated
  11. apparently if he wins they play the theme from dambusters

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