Haas F1 team in NC fires Russian driver Nikita Mazepin
Russia’s only Formula 1 driver was dumped by his North Carolina-based team following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Kannapolis-based Haas F1 ‘immediately terminated’ contract with rookie driver Nikita Mazepin and title sponsor Uralcalia potash producer based in Russia, the ore mined which is mainly used in fertilizers.
“As with the rest of the Formula 1 community, the team is shocked and saddened by the invasion of Ukraine and wishes for a speedy and peaceful end to the conflict,” Haas 1 tweeted early Saturday.
In a message to his fans and nearly 90,000 Twitter followers on Saturday, 22-year-old Mazepin said he was “very disappointedby termination.
F1 last week competitions banned in Russia and Belarus, as well as the use of the countries’ flags, symbols and anthems. the Russian Grand Prixscheduled for September in Sochi, has also been cancelled.
Russian and Belarusian drivers are allowed to compete on a “neutral” basis, F1 has said.
However, Mazepin, in his tweet on Saturday, said his “continued willingness” to agree to F1’s terms was “completely ignored”.
In a February 25 tweet, he said he was “not under control on a lot of what is said and done” on the escalation of the crisis.
The 2022 F1 season was to be Mazepin’s second in open-wheel sport and with Haas, according to his biography on the team’s website.
Mazepin, a From Moscowhad to reconnect with German Mick Schumacher as the youngest driver pairing on the circuit, according to the team. Schumacher is the son of seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher.
Uncertainty for Russian athletes
Haas’s announcement was the last fallout for Russian athletes of their country’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine.
On Friday, the international motor racing body, known as the FIAhas removed the Russian Grand Prix from its schedule, the Associated Press reported.
Sports such as biathlon and table tennis have joined a dozen or more other Olympic sports in banning competitors from Russia and Belarus, the AP reported Thursday.
Blanket bans were imposed on soccer, track and field, basketball and hockey, after an International Olympic Committee appeal to athletes at international events, according to the AP.
What the future holds for Mazepin is unknown.
His better finish during his rookie season in F1, he finished 14th at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, where he set the fastest lap, according to Haas.
Mazepin ended 2021 with five DNFs and one DNS after testing positive for COVID-19 at the season finale in Abu Dhabi, team officials said. He finished 21st in the driver ranking.
This story was originally published March 5, 2022 1:00 p.m.
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