‘We compete as one,’ Nikita Mazepin to start a foundation to serve athletes banned due to ‘political’ reasons

Nikita Mazepin’s new foundation is to help athletes who are unable to compete because of “political reasons” and will be funded by Uralkali using funds allocated for Haas F1.

Russian driver Nikita Mazepin who drives for Haas
Russian driver Nikita Mazepin who drives for Haas

Last week Haas F1 decided to terminate Nikita Mazepin’s contract ahead of the 2022 Formula One season. The American team decided to sever ties with title sponsor Uralkali following Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine.

“Haas F1 Team has elected to terminate, with immediate effect, the title partnership of Uralkali, and the driver contract of Nikita Mazepin,” the team said in a statement. But the Russian Fertilizer giant has described the actions by the Formula One team as a “unilateral termination” and that F1 “should always be free of politics and pressure from external factors”.

The amounts secured will be used to fund Mazepin’s new foundation to help athletes who are unable to compete because of “political reasons”. The organisation will aid athletes and help them in finding jobs, legal aid, and psychological help.

Also Read: Uralkali seek “immediate reimbursement” from Haas over sponsorship termination

Nikita Mazepin on Haas’s termination “I don’t feel this is fair”

Haas' Russian driver Nikita Mazepin
Haas’ Russian driver Nikita Mazepin

Following his exclusion from Formula One, Nikita Mazepin held a press conference where he addressed the media stating his termination from the Haas F1 Team and the Formula One grid for the 2022 season. He also announced his foundation ‘We compete as one’ focussed to serve athletes who were barred from sports due “to the passports they held.”

Mazepin said, “The decision from Haas was not based either on any directive from the sport’s governing body authority or dictated by any sanctions that were placed against either me or my father, or his company. And, of course, I don’t feel this is fair. Does an athlete have a right not to just an opinion, but to keep the opinion out of the public space? Should an athlete be punished for that? And do we want the sports to become just another public square for protests and political debate?”

He added “Today, I’m announcing the creation of a foundation that will be devoted to helping athletes. Who, for political reasons out of their control, lost their ability to compete at the highest level. It will be funded by Uralkali. Using the money that had been intended for Formula 1 sponsorship this season. The foundation will allocate resources, both financial and non-financial. To those athletes who have spent their lives preparing for the Olympics, Paralympics, or other top events. Only to find that they were forbidden from competing and collectively punished just because of the passports they held.”

The team have decided to call Reserve Driver Pietro Fittipaldi as a suitable interim driver to replace Mazepin for the Official Pre-season test. The team are expected to finalise their 2022 driver line-up before the first race of the season in Bahrain on March 18.

Also Read: “Losing Nikita Mazepin will not be too damaging for Haas,” F1…