Mazepin believes F1 comeback is not necessarily impossible

2022 F1 season

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Nikita Mazepin hasn’t given up hope he may return to Formula 1 in the future after losing his drive following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Haas confirmed it had terminated its deals with Mazepin and his father’s company Uralkali nine days after the invasion began. The pair were sanctioned by the European Union soon afterwards.

The FIA is permitting Russian drivers to compete providing they do so as neutrals and sign a commitment assuring they will not express support for the war. Mazepin indicated he was prepared to participate on those terms, as one Russian competitor in Formula 3 is doing.

He told the BBC he had a four-year deal to drive for Haas and was surprised by their decision to terminate his contract.

“I was sent an email which had about five or six words in it with a letter attached saying that my contract is terminated, and it was just put in a legal way beforehand,” he said. “My manager was speaking to the team boss who said that as long as the FIA, which is the the body that governs a Formula 1 as a federation, said that I can compete as long as I’m being neutral, that’s what I thought.

“But then obviously Saturday morning, 11:45am Russian time, that all changed.”

Asked whether he expects he will be unable to continue his motorsport career as long as Russia’s war continues, Mazepin said “I don’t think it’s right to speculate because anything I say right now, it is a speculation.

“One and a half months ago, I couldn’t imagine that the world would change so much. So it can change another step and I genuinely don’t know where it could go.”

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The recently-released fourth season of Netflix Formula 1 documentary Drive to Survive shed new light on the relationship between the Mazepins and Has during 2021. At one stage they are shown threatening to withdraw their financial backing unless Mazepin’s car was swapped with that of team mate Mick Schumacher.

Mazepin insisted he and his team mate were not given equal equipment. “That’s a difficult situation because when you go into a Formula 1 team, even though we had a small budget compared to leading teams, you’d expect that the cars are the same.

“But I have ended up with a car that’s done over 22 races last year and crashed a few times. The chassis is no longer the same structure. And then you get a team mate that that gets a brand new car from the team. You want the same treatment. This is what I and my father was trying to fight for.”

Over the course of the year Mazepin was out-qualified 20-0 by his team mate and finished behind in 11 of the 14 races where both took the chequered flag. He defended his record in his debut season.

“Going into Formula 1 with one-and-a-half-days of testing in the pre-season days is never easy. Especially when the car is not like a Mercedes or a top team, the car was difficult to drive and I was making a lot of mistakes and it genuinely was very difficult for me.

“But I have had a very long-term vision in my career. The same vision that I was discussing with the team.

“Me and my team mate, we both had difficult days. I have been beaten by him, but not all the time. I have had a weakness of qualifying but in the races I think that was my rather strong point.

“I’ve came up through Formula 3 and Formula 2 and I’ve won races there. So I don’t doubt myself but you do need time in Formula 1.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 29 comments on “Mazepin believes F1 comeback is not necessarily impossible”

    1. Mazewho?

      1. I luv chicken
        8th April 2022, 2:11

        Na, Na, Na, Na,
        Na, Na, Na, Na,
        Hey, Hey, Goodbye!

    2. “One and a half months ago, I couldn’t imagine that the world would change so much. So it can change another step and I genuinely don’t know where it could go.”

      I’m sure his father made no mention at all of Putin’s plans, nor did he watch any news leading up to the war… Sarcasm aside, I’m sure he didn’t expect he and father would end up on the sanction list and I doubt that is going anywhere soon. Good. It’s hard to feel sorry for Mazepin crying about “cancel culture against Russia” (as per BBC source) when literal war crimes are occurring by order of the same lad Mazepin Sr. cozies up with for press shots.

      Most Russian athletes can legitimately make a claim they’ve got no part in this whole story, but when you’re involved enough with the regime to make it on sanction lists and be on photographs sitting at a table with Vlad, you’re probably not one of those.

    3. Regardless of peoples opinions of whether it’s fair or not, people must always remember that he was never there on merit, it was only due to his fathers company. With that company being that close to Putin his position his position was untenable. If he was a Verstappen, Hamilton or Leclerc then yes, neutral flag etc, but he’s not, he was the worst racer on the grid. At least Maldonado actually had some pace.

      1. for all Maldonado’s faults, he won a race on merit if i remember correctly and was the last Williams driver to do so. He was fast when he was on, just comically inconsistent (trying to think of a nice way to put it).

        1. Yes, and he had no other than alonso behind him that race!

    4. I read in the BBC or somewhere he is starting some campaign to help out cancelled Russian athletes. I’m not for generically cancelling every famous Russian. But, this guy has some chutzpah. He was not “cancelled.” He lost his job because he had his job because of a sanctioned oligarch. He’s no different from others who lost their positions because they worked for a Sberbank branch or whatever. But of course he only had that job because he is the boss’ son. Which means he faces no meaningful consequence from this turn of events, except that he doesn’t get a free F1 seat. His dad can buy him an airline and he can be a pilot or buy him a construction company or whatever. I mean, we all face set backs and have to modify our dreams.

      1. @dmw There was an article here on Racefans about it, complete with some savory comments:
        https://www.racefans.net/2022/03/09/mazepin-offering-legal-aid-to-russian-athletes-barred-from-competitions/

    5. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      7th April 2022, 21:32

      “But then obviously Saturday morning, 11:45am Russian time, that all changed.”

      Ah yes, because normal people use that timezone specifically when making a point. Mzzespin ended up where he belonged; the MazeBin

    6. Five or six words? Was two not enough…

      1. In Vince McMahon’s style “YOU’RE FIRED!!!”

      2. We thank you for your collaboration!

      3. Electroball76
        9th April 2022, 8:51

        “You have insufficient funds available”.

    7. It is a bit hipocrytical, to go and Cancel Russian athletes based on their nazionality..

      But Mazepin is an exception. His father is an Oligarch, the only reason Mazepin had a seat, was because of money stolen from regular Russians by the Russian elite.

      And worst offense? He was slow, involved in Scandal off track right away.. So bad, he made Lance Stroll look good.

      I would be quite happy with Kvyat racing in F1, but not this guy.

      1. @jureo I know many people love to hate on Stroll, but to be fair, although he’s not on the level of even the likes of Ocon or Albon, he has finished on the podium, and earned a pole position (and led that race for over half distance).
        You’d be better off comparing Mazepin to either the crash-prone Latifi (and even he had enough speed to not always be destroyed by Russell) or indeed his own team mate Schumacher.

    8. 🤣🤣🤣

    9. It’s unpossible!

    10. Jose Lopes da Silva
      7th April 2022, 22:36

      Spookingly, Mazepin’s approach summarised in this article seems to mimic the Russian government’s geopolitical approach to recent history, in every aspect.

    11. Has he learned to drive yet?

    12. some racing fan
      7th April 2022, 22:59

      Who’s that guy again?

    13. Too bad the sanctions against Mazepin do not prevent publishing articles and interviews like this.

    14. Appalling behaviour by Haas. Mazepin never lived up to the expectation of being a total… something. Proved a lot of people wrong. Anyway can’t feel too sorry for an f1 driver though.

      1. There really was some appalling behavior by Hass over the last several years. Hopefully they have learned their lesson and will no longer take dirty money from criminals like William Storey or Nikita Mazepin Sr. They should be ashamed, but at least they are doing the right thing now.

    15. Mazepin: sanctions are “cancel culture against my country”
      Really? I think invading a country, massacring, torturing and raping its civilians and attempting to ‘cancel’ the country’s very existence is something a real human being would actually worry about, a lot more than whether a rich spoilt man-child can get to play badly at being a racing driver again. Less polite versions of this post are unfortunately unpublishable.

      1. You are spot on: ‘cancel culture’ is what the Russian Invasion and War in Ukraine is doing; trying to cancel its culture.

        Mazepin is not being cancelled, but merely a small fish caught in the web of sanctions which tries to stop the ‘cancel culture’ in Ukraine.
        So his position is more like ‘protecting culture’.

    16. Let him slip from our collective memories never to return. He is so embroiled in everything happening today, directly, he has no say whatsoever. Good riddance

    17. I doubt, or at least not anytime soon.

    18. Lol.

      No.

    19. I think it’s about as likely to see the return of Scott Speed to F1.

    Comments are closed.