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

Mazepin: Haas “ignored” my pleas to continue racing

2022 F1 season

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Nikita Mazepin says that he was prepared to follow the conditions imposed by the FIA on Russian license holders to continue racing in F1.

The former Haas driver has lost his seat at the team for the 2022 season after the team terminated its commercial partnership with title sponsors Uralkali, of whom Mazepin’s father, Dmitry, is CEO.

Yesterday, the FIA announced that all Russian and Belarusian competitors must sign an agreement to not express any support for the Russian military invasion of Ukraine and not race under the Russian or Belarusian flag or display any symbols connected with the two countries.

In response to Haas’s decision to terminate their sponsorship agreement with Uralkali and drop him as a race driver for this season, Mazepin expressed his unhappiness at the decision on social media, claiming he would have been prepared to sign the FIA mandated agreement in order to race in Formula 1 this year.

“I am very disappointed to hear that my F1 contract has been terminated,” Mazepin said.

“While I understand the difficulties, the ruling from the 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. 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 the better times. I will have more to say in the coming days.”

Mazepin raced a single season in Formula 1 in 2021, alongside Mick Schumacher. He contested every race except for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which he was forced to miss after testing positive for Covid-19 on the morning of the race.

He ended the 2021 season in 21st and last place in the drivers’ championship, having scored no points. Mazepin’s best finish was 14th place in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 80 comments on “Mazepin: Haas “ignored” my pleas to continue racing”

    1. I am shocked. They didn’t want him to continue racing? They just threw generational talent out of the window.

      1. I know, it’s almost as if they had full knowledge of how good he isn’t.

        1. Too be fair no money no seat how good you are doesn’t matter.

          1. F1 has become such harsh environtment these days. What an utter shock. However…

      2. Lol 😂

    2. Just goes to show how heartless F1 is, when they are on the path of virtue signalling!

      1. Bro, Indians already have a bad name after our representatives abstained, please don’t contribute to this by calling this virtual signalling. Haas removed Mazepin because Uralkali is unlikely to be able to meet financial requirements for the team due to sanctions.

        1. Indians have no reason to feel apologetic for the fact that India abstained. That is an entirely different matter. When a driver loses his backing, expect him to get judged solely on his performance, and that’s where Mazepin’s fate was sealed.

          1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
            5th March 2022, 13:22

            Abstaining shows how much balls that country doesn’t have…….

            1. Nah the real lack of balls has been shown the last decade from Russia and equally if not more the west. The real reason this has become so grave. The fact that they couldn’t solve it before what was going to be an inevitable conflict is absurd. Either complete stupidity and ignorance or just lead footed ego driven foolishness that is costing many innocent people dearly. They’re both to blame and to argue otherwise only suggests a lack of understanding of the complex of issues far preceding the invasion.

              There are many ways this could turn south for the entire world in a horrible way, let’s just hope that doesn’t.

              Though the question begs then, what or who then are we hoping in? The only faith they seem to hold is their own hard headed betterment.

            2. Garv Sabbarwal
              6th March 2022, 4:21

              Bruh the west can’t think like this. West always has wreaked havoc on other countries to fill their pockets.
              USA has alone been in war with 84 out 193 countries. UK build the whole country on back of slave, oppression and stealing. Germans and Japs have started wars that left humanity appalled. I am not justifying what Russia did as right or wrong but you’ve only seen what you’ve been told. Get a grip before you lash out

            3. @canadianjosh

              Probably still more than the number of balls Canada had when the US was invading Iraq

        2. We have abstained because we know NATO are bunch of hypocritical thugs. You have to be completely blind in order to ignore this. They turn their eyes the other way when USA invades other countries but jump on the bandwagon when Russia does the same. How about we do not support either Russia or NATO? Both these bodies are bunch of thugs.

      2. Heartless is invading a peaceful country and murdering its citizens. Get a grip.

        1. Which one of those have Russian athletes done, @scbriml?

          1. In this case, the Russian athlete has been embarrassingly slow, has not got any sponsorship, is putting off new sponsors from joining, had his dad threaten to pull sponsorship unless he got to swap cars with his team mate and overall, he brings bad PR on the team without any positives to balance it out.

            1. Yeah, maybe @petebaldwin – but none of that is illegal, and certainly isn’t a war crime or murder.
              The fact is that Mazepin’s seat wouldn’t even be in question if he and his family (and their money) weren’t Russian.
              Neither the Mazepin family or their business have direct links to this war, as far as I know. They are not the ones who should be punished for it.
              Not any more than you or I.

            2. RandomMallard
              5th March 2022, 12:45

              S Mazepin Sr, while likely not having anything to do with the war himself directly, is allegedly very close to Putin. According to many sources (BBC and others), he was in a meeting with Putin mere hours after the invasion began, as well as holding a one to one meeting with him within the last month. So nothing directly to do with the invasion perhaps, but very close to the figurehead of it no doubt.

            3. Knowing someone personally and having a meeting together, eh? Oh, well that’s obviously the smoking gun right there, RandomMallard. I stand corrected.
              Wait a minute – don’t all the Prime Ministers and Presidents know each other and have meetings together sometimes too?
              OMG – A global conspiracy?! They’re all in on it….

              Just a thought – perhaps Mazepin Sr told Putin he didn’t want a war? Kinda bad for his business and family plans, after all – not to mention all the other things it’s bad for. Anyone ever thought of that?
              Knowing someone personally does not mean you agree with everything they do and say or have the power to influence them to do or say it, nor does it impose on you the power, responsibility or consequences of their personal decisions.

            4. @s problem with your assumptions are they are just assumptions. There is a journo in Russia, was revealing all the oligarch connections with putin and how they are feeding him in return for protections and special treatments. Puttin is there because of these oligarch and oligarchs are there because they get the treatments. Both are dependent on one another. There was a businessman who was the top rich guy in the country, and did have a fall out with putin, and he was put-in a prison by putin for tax evasion. If these people didn’t fed him, putin would not have this much power, if putin didn’t protect them, they would be nothing.

              Also putin put the person in jail before trying to posion him who was revealing all these connections and corruptions. None of these oligarch are blameless, they re as deep in this as putin himself

      3. This ain’t it chief, not by a long shot.

      4. Virtue signalling or peer pressure has some weight into the decision. In the end what Mazepin could offer or what he promised to offer was not enough for Haas. Now will Haas make the season?

    3. The Ranting Brummie
      5th March 2022, 10:29

      Diddums.

    4. Money talks boy

    5. I have an opinion
      5th March 2022, 10:36

      Nikita’s agreement to the FIA ultimatum is irrelevant, but I’m sure he knows this. He was solely in F1 due to Russian oligarch money, which can no longer be received.

    6. Kyle (@hammerheadgb)
      5th March 2022, 10:36

      Unfortunately Gene and Gunther cannot pay for the team with pleas instead of dollars. From the perspective of both brand reputation and sanctions compliance, it’s no longer viable to take those from Uralkali/daddy.

    7. Oh my gosh, and he’s such a talent. What will we do now he’s leaving the sport? Please, won’t somebody help us…?!

      1. Too bad for Valtteri to bid Nikita adieu, he was the only guy to keep him from finishing dead last now that he won’t be driving a Merc

        1. I mean.. I’m not a fan of Valterri.. but dead last is a bit of a stretch. We still have Latifi, Zhou and Stroll on the grid.

    8. “Yesterday, the FIA announced that all Russian and Belarusian competitors must sign an agreement to not express any support for the Russian military invasion of Ukraine and not race under the Russian or Belarusian flag or display any symbols connected with the two countries.”

      Why only Russian people? Everyone should sign this otherwise it’s discriminating. Civilians cannot be held responsible in any way for the actions of their government as long as they are not a part of it. Why the hell is all this all right with everyone? And why this wasn’t done about Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Argentina, Egypt, Libya, Yemen…? Some of those wars were even uglier than this one, and some are still active and very much (would any of you travel to Yemen right now!?). Why is Saudi Arabia awarded with a GP while trying to occupy Yemen, and at the same time Russia lost it’s own GP? Can anyone answer at least this question? Do you people even know of war in Yemen? Yes, with (American) jets bombarding from above, long-range missiles fired at cities, with tanks, infantry and all the rest.

      1. Why only Russian people? Everyone should sign this otherwise it’s discriminating.

        It has become apparent that discrimination is okay if enough people do it.
        Seems a lot of people are frustrated that they can’t discriminate against people for reasons of ethnicity, gender, sexuality or religion anymore, so they go for whatever is left – nationality.

        And hey, if you can’t punish Putin himself, then just punish everyone who isn’t Putin until he gets the message….
        A very cunning plan indeed….

      2. And Turkey!

      3. I don’t get how it is discriminatory. Could you explain.

      4. I agree with your standpoint, plus Turkey is surely missing from your list
        there are reasons of course, but none of them is a justification

      5. José Lopes da Silva
        6th March 2022, 6:40

        These lists of countries make clear what the intentions of the list maker.
        Argentina? Egypt?
        Regarding to Syria, yes, one could ask why wasn’t this done when the Syrian refugee wave started, after the Russian intervention there started.
        And one could ask why wasn’t this done after Crimea and Donbass annexations. In this case, the reason was clear: the slap wasn’t hard enough.

      6. Exactly, and bombing with UK aircraft and weapons. But our media would have us believe that Saudi Arabia are the good guys but those nasty Russians are bad for retaliation against NATO aggression in trying to get the Ukraine on board. Why on earth do we need NATO anyway? What are they defending us against now? Expanding into eastern Europe strikes me as provocative.
        Libya, invasion. Iraq, invasion. Syria, invasion (Turkey, NATO member). Etc.
        Did I really read someone implying the BBC as a reliable source?!

        1. retaliation against NATO aggression in trying to get the Ukraine on board

          What are you talking about? Was NATO holding Ukraine President at gunpoint and making him sign some paperwork to join NATO? No.
          Did Ukraine sign anything before being invaded by Russians? No.
          Was Ukraine even close to joining NATO or EU? No.
          Even if it did, why sovereign country should not be able to decide to join international alliance (especially out of fear of being invaded by its stronger neighbour)?
          Do you think they should not be able to decide for themselves?

          Expanding into eastern Europe strikes me as provocative

          Which countries are you talking about? Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Ukraine, Moldova? Where do you draw the line between countries that could decide by themselves and countries that should be thrown under the Russian bus? Huh?

          Disgusting. You literally disgust me.

    9. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      5th March 2022, 10:56

      Oh no! Anyway….

    10. Ex-F1 driver refers to a murderous invasion of another country as “a difficulty”.

      Good riddance.

      1. Impossible to have any sympathy for this well below par pay driver. If I was a Russian, if I was someone like him, I would make sure my family was safe and then withdraw myself from competition in protest to the war. I would be ashamed.

        Next, boycott the abstaining in the UN Chinese grand prix. Shame on another autocratic regime.

    11. Nikita Mazepin is out because he is intimately connected through his father to Putin, and there is no separation possible between himself and the oligarchical clas that supports Putin and benefits from Putin. I he was Daniil Kvyat, I think we would all be sympathetic and would say that firing Daniil Kvyat would be wrong. Nikita Mazepin, not at all.

      1. José Lopes da Silva
        6th March 2022, 6:42

        +1.
        And yet, Kvyat could take somekind of stand against this, which he isn’t

    12. Of course they ignored your pleas. That’s basically Haas confirming they just had you in the seat because of your sponsorship money.

    13. What was he thinking would happen?! Without any further cashflow from his dad’s company to Haas, there was no way they were gonna employ him anymore. Plus, his dad’s connections to Vladimir Putin were another no-go, after the horrible events in the last few days.
      While I don’t like the way he lost his seat, it was the only possible solution for Haas.

      1. José Lopes da Silva
        6th March 2022, 6:43

        Indeed. To think that a bloody war was needed to remove him from F1.

    14. I’ve nothing against pay drivers per se (companies don’t blow money on drivers unless they think there’s something worth investing in) but this sort of unconditional funding that these billionaire sons get is something I’ll never accept.

      It’s never nice to see someone lose their dream job for factors well beyond their control, but there’s any number of drivers who’ll never get the chances he got because they weren’t born into fabulous wealth. It’s hard to have much sympathy for him.

    15. He can join the list of Millions who please are also being ignored

      Guess he’s luck his country isn’t being invade

      Good riddance!

    16. Let’s all pour one out for Nikita Dmitryevich, former F1 driver, whose dad has probably set up for a life of luxury, regardless of what will happen to Russia and her citizens.

      1. I just did in the bathroom after I woke up.

    17. I don’t understand why his father couldn’t just pay for his seat, one who owns 3 billions euros or whatever doesn’t need a company to pay a few millions a year for his son to race.

      1. That’s how he got that money, by not paying out of his own pocket I’d say, but regardless @esploratore1, it might not make much of a difference if dad Mazepin is himself sanctioned, right.

      2. @esploratore1

        Maybe his dad knows that spending out of his own pocket for a dead investment such as his son, is a bad idea.

    18. The tone and the text of the statement itself proves that right decision was made.

    19. RandomMallard
      5th March 2022, 12:50

      This might be harsh on Nikita himself (not necessarily those around him), but it’s not particularly different to all the drivers who got into F1 on the tobacco money. As their advertising got outlawed, the money dried up. As the money dried up, people lost their seats.

    20. Vladimir Putin Myass
      5th March 2022, 12:57

      His personal wishes are being ignored by somebody else’s unilateral decision. Guess he now knows what it is like to be a Ukrainian.

    21. Adam (@rocketpanda)
      5th March 2022, 13:02

      World events aside, he must realise he only had the seat because of the money coming from his father’s company? Without that cashflow there was little reason to retain him. Suppose it’s interesting to see how someone who has had their advancement greased by money reacts when the money is no longer enough to keep them going.

      He was needlessly aggressive on track, antagonistic to his team, consistently slower than his team-mate, often spun by himself and even in F2 wasn’t the most exciting or talented of drivers, arguably taking a seat that could have gone to a stronger talent. That’s without bringing up the social media video, his comments towards Russell, assaulting Illot – like there’s a lot of reasons to not like the dude and yet he had every chance to prove people wrong and still didn’t manage it.

      1. @rocketpanda The thing is, I don’t think he thinks he had the seat because daddy paid for it. His statement makes it clear to me that he thought he was hired for his talent and his talent is still of use to Haas on the grid. It clearly it was only ever about the money. Now that daddy can’t pay due to the sanctions there is literally no reason for Haas to keep him in the seat. As they say, No dough, No go.

        I’m glad he is out of F1 if he was so clueless as to think his talent was why he was in that seat. It explains a lot about last season and his attitude. Hopefully this is a wake up call for him but I doubt it. Hopefully this is also a wake up call for Haas to think harder about the money they are accepting.

    22. RocketTankski
      5th March 2022, 13:14

      Don’t be sad, Nikita. Something else will soon come up I’m sure. In fact I just spotted this job ad online:
      “10 enthusiastic young (wealthy) drivers needed for unbelievable opportunities at dynamic international marketing company. And racing team. Phone Rich N. Ergy now to apply.”

    23. He’s been relegated for being 20th out of 20. His father is an annoyance. The money is frozen. Easy decision.

      1. RandomMallard
        5th March 2022, 15:54

        @jimfromus He actually came 21st out of 20 (well, technically out of 21 but it’s less funny that way). Kubica officially finished higher than him after getting 15th and 14th while deputising for Raikkonen, which put him ahead of Mazepin (who’s best finish was 14th, but after thah his best was only 17th, putting him behind Kubica). A fantastic achievement for Nikita if you ask me

    24. There is still a shortage of HGV drivers here in the UK Nikita.
      Of course you will need to get a licence but I’m sure your Dad will help pay for that ;)

    25. Should have plead Putin to stop war in Ukraine. His dad went to meet Putin on the 2nd day of the re-started war. Did not plea to stop it. Has not condemned the war, has not even mentioned the war (in Russia’s propaganda there is no war so all according to the propaganda).

      1. Did not plea to stop it.

        Do you know this for a fact, @f1lauri?

        Has not condemned the war, has not even mentioned the war

        Shouldn’t need to, either. What has he done to make you think he supports it?
        He states above, in this very article, that he is happy to sign any FIA document that forbids any form of support for it.

        The comments on this site recently are just mind-boggling.

        1. Nothing more mindblowing than you expecting a pay driver be kept on with out no money. He is no lewis he is not even strolls level

          1. It’s got nothing to do with that, dan.
            Losing his seat for lacking sponsorship is natural, of course. Losing his sponsorship merely because it was coming from Russia, though, is something else entirely.

        2. Yes he did say he’ll not say anything that is in favour of the war criminal Putin.

          But I haven’t seen him going out of his way to prove this.

          His statement was all poor me.

          And yet again Haas could very easily find out his daddy’s money won’t be available and daddy won’t be admitting that to them until it’s too late. The where would Haas be? Apart from still last

          The image of keeping Mazepin given his closeness to Putin is damage that Haas is unlikely to ever recover from. Zero other sponsors would touch them. It’s not like he’s athlete from some poor family who have sacrificed everything to compete. He’s the son of a Russian oligarch with direct connections to Putin!!

          1. But I haven’t seen him going out of his way to prove this.

            Ah, I see, @invisiblekid. Guilty until proven innocent.
            How compassionate and open-minded of you.

            And of course his statement was about him. It was on his social media page, apparently. His personal social media page…

            He’s the son of a Russian oligarch with direct connections to Putin!!

            So?!!
            That doesn’t make him personally guilty of anything.
            Even if he declared his complete opposition to the war and the actions of the Russian government, the sanctions would still have cost him his seat.

        3. José Lopes da Silva
          6th March 2022, 7:11

          There are a lot of mind-boggling things happening in the last few days.

    26. The main issue here should not be about the funding coming from a Russian sponsor, his son…the driver…., or, even, if Haas can afford, or not afford, to continue.

      Russia is enacting a brutal, and unprovoked, war on an innocent neighbor state. With all the results of war at hand.

      Putting pressure, in any reasonable way, on Russia to desist is the issue. Perhaps Nikita’s dad can join with other
      oligarchs to influence Putin to see the error of his ways. If not, they can all join together and enjoy their newly acquired pariah status.

      Oh, and condemning this action by the FIA, Haas….the the West in general…..because there are other nations committing unjustified and immoral actions is irrational. We should also refuse to participate in any GP held in China, Naughty Arabia, Bahrain….any nation with human rights violations which exist as a matter of state policy.

      F1, and sport in general, can not stand outside society in a state of special privilege.

    27. Logical outcome. To be an F1 driver one needs at least one of talent or money. The money ran out, simple.

    28. His university studies, as reported previously, would (will?) make him an officer in the reserve upon graduation. I fail to see how he could realistically be signing a statement publicly denouncing Russia. So, just empty posturing from Nikita Dmitryevich here.

      1. He wouldn’t have been denouncing Russia, João.
        The FIA’s statement is about forbidding any show of support for this military action.

        Being neutral should never be seen as a bad thing.

        1. …being neutral about who caused, started, and continues to promulgate a war which is killing innocent civilians…..

          …………..”never be seen as a BAD THING”…….???????

          1. Well, they are your words @theroswellite….
            Nobody has to publicly jump up on their soapbox and loudly proclaim that they are against something, to actually be against that something.
            Declining to publicly condemn something at any and every opportunity is not the same as supporting it.

            Hey – if everyone was neutral, there wouldn’t be any war at all.

    29. wow some of these comments are salty on a personal level…
      can we just not be harsh to a person who has done nothing illegal and his only fault is just being subpar at driving a F1 car?
      his family ties and his attitude are annoying and borderline terrible, I agree, and he should have never entered in F1. but the guy is… not guilty?

      1. I’d like to say his only fault is being a rubbish F1 driver.. but his on-track antics ,or lack of sportsmanship in F2, and a disgustingly low respect for women also plays a part in the bashing he gets.

    30. José Lopes da Silva
      6th March 2022, 6:46

      Please don’t call him, in the future, the “Haas refugee” driver. It would be nasty to millions.

    31. Feel really sorry for Nikita!

    32. Sometimes the person driving a racecar is an asset. Sometimes they’re a consequence. Whether Mazepin wanted to continue racing or not was irrelevant to Haas. He wasn’t an asset to their program.

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