Haas F1 decided to terminate Nikita Mazepin’s contract ahead of the 2022 Formula One season. The American F1 team decided to sever ties with title sponsor Uralkali following Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine. The team recalled former driver Kevin Magnussen to race for the team and he has had a great start by points on both the two races of the 2022 calendar so far.
Nikita Mazepin is the son of Russian Oligarch, Dimitry Mazepin who owns Uralkali and is considered to be very close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Since being ousted from his Formula One seat, he has been very vocal against the decision and has threatened to seek legal action against Haas.
Speaking to BBC Hardtalk, the former Haas driver shared his opinion on the war, sanctions imposed on Russia and his exit from Formula One. He believes the sanctions imposed on athletes are unfair but denied making any comments on his country’s military escalation because of “tremendous risks in saying anything.”
Nikita Mazepin: “I will keep myself publicly quiet” on the Russia-Ukraine conflict
After Russia’s military conflict with Ukraine escalated to a full-fledged invasion, multiple countries have imposed sanctions and international organisations including Formula One. Formula one later made a public statement to terminate Russia’s contract to host a Formula One Grand Prix. The FIA had earlier taken a decision to initiate a ban on all motorsport events in Russia and Belarus. The ban also bans nationals and teams from the two countries from participating in international events.
Nikita Mazepin said, “I don’t agree with being in the sanctions and I have said previously that I intend to fight it. Perhaps now is not the right time because if you look at the whole situation that is happening against athletes in the general case, it is ‘cancel culture’ against my country. That is about the sanctions.”
Regarding his personal views on the Russian invasion he expressed, “My feelings, they obviously changed as a human being and as a person that wants to live in a very peaceful world. But I will be honest with you, I see tremendous risks in saying anything at all about this case because I will never satisfy everyone and therefore, I will keep myself publicly quiet.”
Mazepin’s new foundation ‘We compete as one focuses to serve athletes who were barred from sports due to political reasons. The organisation will aid athletes and help them in finding jobs, legal aid, and psychological help.