Nikita Mazepin, Haas VF-22 launch, Barcelona, 2022

Mazepin confident Russian GP will go ahead despite sanctions

2022 F1 season

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Nikita Mazepin expects the Russian Grand Prix will go ahead this year despite the escalating diplomatic crisis over Ukraine.

The race which is due to take place in September was called into question after the Russian army moved into eastern Ukraine yesterday. International sanctions have been brought against Russia by the United States, European Union and United Kingdom.

British prime minister Boris Johnson said it was “inconceivable” the UEFA Champions League football final could take place under the circumstances. It is slated to be held in St Petersburg, three months earlier than grand prix in Sochi.

However Mazepin, F1’s only Russian driver, said he expects the series will head to Sochi as usual.

“From the understanding that we’ve had with Formula 1 the race is going ahead,” he told Sky, “and you will surely see me there.”

“I have always been a big support of sport without politics,” he added. “Today I am in Barcelona. I cannot tell you the excitement of driving the new car and the excitement of actually being involved in the development of this new car, from seeing the pictures and then seeing it in physical, carbon copy of the pictures is great.”

Mazepin’s father Dmitry is the CEO of Russian fertiliser manufacturer Uralkali, which is the title sponsor of Haas. The team previously played down the concerns financial sanctions against Russia could present it with funding problems.

Haas officially presented its new car for the 2022 season today and Mazepin drove it this morning. However technical trouble limited him to just 18 laps over five hours, the second-lowest tally after Robert Kubica’s nine.

Mazepin said the reason for the issues was that “sometimes simulation doesn’t match real life” and “the cars [are] such on the edge of technology that sometimes reliability is a weak point.” However, after Haas’ 2021 struggles he said that there were reasons to be optimistic: “I just hope the performance is there and it looks like it is.”

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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28 comments on “Mazepin confident Russian GP will go ahead despite sanctions”

  1. Sigh. I wish I could just laugh at his confidence in this. But when has F1 ever done the right thing. Or sports in general (I guess the WTA pulling out of Chinese tournaments was a very rare exception).

    I guess it will depend on restrictions for US subjects, companies & Banks (and insurers) to travel and trade with Russia and for Russia to trade in Dollars. If there will be sanctions going that far (and from what is happening right now, that would seem necessary) then Liberty will have no real choice but to pull out of the race. If not, it will probably go ahead. And feel even worse than the first race back in Bahrain in 2012 (sorry people S.A. during apartheid is too long ago for me to have been aware of) after what happened there.

    1. “1985 was the final South African Grand Prix until the end of apartheid, with FIA president Jean-Marie Balestre announcing days after the race that a Grand Prix would not return to the nation because of apartheid.”,the%20nation%20because%20of%20apartheid.

      So F1 does do the right thing, sometimes.

      1. Pretty sure they only did so because several teams were unable to attend due to international sanctions Manoli. And I think this time it won’t be different (which sadly given the current latest developments could well be the case already this week).

        1. That is correct – the French government blocked French teams from participating, and some countries also tried to impose travel bans (Brazil tried to stop Brazilian drivers going, though they all went in the end). The French seem to have pushed Balestre to finally drop the race, though only after several years of pressure.

  2. I’d like to hope it would be cancelled, but even if it is it will be a last minute and face saving effort by F1 after they have been pressured by sponsors and drivers to pull out.

  3. A lot could / will happen between now and September. There’s really very little Liberty can do other than react to what comes next. It always has ‘sport doesn’t do politics’ to justify going. Rightly or wrongly. I think the only reason they would definitely pull out is if it wasn’t safe to go, and Sochi doesn’t fall into that bracket and certainly isn’t likely to.

    I don’t often feel sorry for Nikita, but in this instance, it really isn’t anything to do with him. He struggles to not upset people at the best of times, and now he’s commenting on international diplomacy.

    1. I disagree there is a lot he can do. He can call Putin out as a horrible dangerous crazy tyrant

      1. He can call Putin out as a horrible dangerous crazy tyrant

        This would be likely to cause a whole heap of problems for him and his family. It would take someone very brave (or very stupid) to do that in his situation. I certainly wouldn’t be brave enough to do so in his shoes.

        1. @drmouse Agreed. Then again, perhaps Putin would take that as a compliment.

        2. Well, since his Dad is close enough with Putin to be at a shorter table with him than the likes of Macron etc @drmouse, I think the first person who would give Nikita trouble would be his own father. If he himself isn’t feeling rather the same about their countries leader (with the sheer amount of propaganda contributing to the conditioning)

      2. @dutchtreat The problem with calling people ‘crazy, horrible, tyranical and dangerous` is that in the worse case scenario you’re right.

    2. It is a complex situation and it is not right to ask this young man about it because of his nationality. It has been reported for many, many years that the tensions have been escalating because the EU/Nato’s push into the Ukraine and onto Russia’s door step.

      Not that media is providing any background. Front page news here was a cake/wine party while we were sending materials/people to support the Ukraine.

      1. I do not think politics it the right subject to discuss here.
        Your narrative of what is happening is following RT infested storylines and there is a lot to say about that.
        So lets agree to end this line here and now to avoid politics damaging this forum.
        There is already enough tension between partisan members.

        1. Yep, totally agree. We’re here to discuss motorsport, as is Nikita. Let’s just stick to that. This is a wonderful forum and if I ever have a question about this or that, I know someone on here will point me in the right direction.

          We all have frustrations with the world, but lets keep this a little haven for DRS actuators, floor designs, VSC, ‘louvres’, the only person to win from 13th on the grid and other such things that probably don’t matter, but it’s nice to hang out with people who think they do for a little bit.

        2. I agree that politics is not right subject for this forum or F1. However political issues such as BLM, Human Rights, Diversity, LGBQT, Woke, etc etc etc are constantly published and debated at Racefans.

          WRT to Russia, this is not my narrative but you are welcome to yours.

          No offence is intended by my response.

  4. For sure, the race will go ahead as scheduled. This is about an event scheduled seven months from now, after all.
    A different story if the race were due in the early-season phase (like 2016 & ’17).

  5. Who US think they are, throwing sanctions and seized other nations assets to suffocating innocent citizens like they were God?

    1. To be honest I’d rather have the US impose sanctions on my country than have a dictator in all but name amass 150 thousand troops with associated tanks, helicopters, missiles, aircraft and ships along my border and then watch him essentially annex a big chunk of it and menacingly threaten an complete armed takeover if we don’t bend to his will.

      But hey, maybe that’s just me, you’re clearly fine with it.

      Note, most of the assets frozen so far are from individuals, I wonder how those individuals got their assets in the first place!

      As for F1, it’s an embarrassment some of the countries it races in, bt worse things happen (see above)

    2. This must be sarcasm, right?

  6. The deal was already struck, and it’s an outflow of cash from Russia, not an inflow, so the GP should go ahead no problem. They will not be any Russian flag however.

  7. Well, if we had British GP every season when British army invaded foreign territories and caused many deaths (like in Iraq, Afghanistan, countries in Africa, Middle East, bombarding Yugoslavia, fighting over islands in South America against South Americans etc.), I don’t see a problem with Russian GP.

    1. Please tell, when Britain de facto annexed the territories of other independent countries in a 1930s-style war of conquest.
      I’ll wait.

  8. I think it’s far too early to know if the Russian GP will go ahead. It depends on how things pan out over the next few months really. I kind of hope it doesn’t. Let’s be honest who wants F1 to go to Russia other than Putin, the Mazepin family, some sponsors and some Russians of course. The circuit it one of the worst and with the exception of last year, has been known for producing poor races.

    I expect if there is any face-saving way possible though, F1 will turn up at Sochi in September. The sport is far more interested in the money than to consider taking any moral, ethical or political stance.

  9. Mazepin’s father is part of the Putin’s régime and Russia has already started war against Ukraine. We will never hear Mazepin condemning Putin’s Russia’s actions because of the close ties. Haas running Russian colors and F1 still going ahead with Russian GP is a disgrace. Every day they spend before cutting the ties is one day too many. Ukrainian people are already dying and worst is ahead – all because of Putin and Russia’s crazy actions.

  10. Lewisham Milton
    23rd February 2022, 20:04

    The final Sochi Grand Prix should go ahead as scheduled, but the sanction will be that only Mazepin takes part. Everybody else can have the weekend off.

  11. The Russian ‘special military operation’ may not be an issue for F1. The argument that the cars should always go where the cash is, is a powerful one – at least for those financially linked to the sport. However, from a practical point of view, sanctions will likely make holding the Russian GP impossible.

    F1 has the perfect mechanism to get around the situation. They can ask Michael Masi who he would like to see win the GP. This seems to have worked before and could comprise Masi’s new role.

  12. F1 needs to cancel it immediately and remove whatever Russian influence it can within the sport with the full-scale invasion being launched today. I can’t quite believe a blatant war of conquest has been launched in Europe. I thought we had moved past this a long time ago.

    1. +1
      West didn’t believe and understand what Putin’s Russia is capable. Very sad that we had to experience this war to finally see what was going on.

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