Axed F1 driver Nikita Mazepin insists he has NO intention of ditching Russian flag

‘Whether you want to give up your country for sport… I will NOT do it’: Axed Haas driver Nikita Mazepin insists he has NO intention of ditching the Russian flag and racing as a neutral in order to boost hopes of F1 return

  • Russian driver Nikita Mazepin was sacked by Haas after the invasion of Ukraine 
  • Mazepin’s oligarch father Dmitry is an ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin
  • Speaking about rivals taking neutral stances, Mazepin is unwilling to renounce the flag which he drives under in a bid to find a way back into Formula One 
  • He also said it is a ‘pity’ that tNihe Russian Grand Prix has been cut from calendar 

Sacked Russian Formula One driver Nikita Mazepin has ruled out the possibility of racing under a neutral flag in order to boost hopes of an F1 return.

Haas sacked Mazepin back in March and also dropped sponsors Uralkali, a Russian fertiliser company part-owned by Mazepin’s oligarch father Dmitry, 53, an associate of Vladimir Putin. 

The FIA announced that Russian drivers would only be able to compete in competition if they distanced themselves from their nation and raced under a neutral flag.

Mazepin has seen his peers, such as junior Ferrari driver Robert Shwartzman and Dakar Rally driver Konstantin Zhiltsov, adopt a different flag to further their racing careers, something he is unwilling to go.

‘People cannot be condemned. We are athletes and everyone has their own choices, which must be respected,’ he told rsport.ria.ru.

‘Zhiltsov is not the only one, [Russian turned Israeli driver] Robert Shwartzman did the same. There is a question of personal considerations.

‘Whether you want to give up your country for sport and it is more important for you or not – everyone chooses for himself, but I will not do it.’

 

 

Back in April Mazepin described ‘cancel culture’ as the season behind his sacking. 

Speaking to the BBC, Mazepin said that targeting Russian athletes with sanctions is wrong. 

‘I don’t agree with being in the sanctions,’ he said. ‘I’ve said before I agree to fight it.

‘Perhaps now is not the right time. If you look at the whole situation that is happening against athletes in the general case, it’s cancel culture against my country.’ 

Mazepin was axed by Haas nine days after Russia invaded Ukraine and he was replaced by Kevin Magnussen.  

Mazepin's father Dmitry (right) is an ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin (left)

Mazepin’s father Dmitry (right) is an ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin (left)

The Russian Grand Prix, held in Sochi, has also been wiped from the race calendar as a result of the war on Ukraine and it is a decision that leaves Mazepin with ‘great sadness’.  

‘I reacted to this with great sadness,’ he added. ‘I remember those fantastic feelings when I performed on that stage in Russia. 

‘This is one of the best Grand Prix. It is a pity that drivers and spectators will not be able to experience it again in the near future.

‘But the situation can change very quickly both in a negative direction or in a positive one. I hope for the best.’ 

Mazepin is now working on a lawsuit against Haas over his dismissal, with hearings set to be held in Switzerland in the coming months. 

 

Haas are also contending with the future of Mick Schumacher, son of legendary F1 driver Michael, after Sportsmail revealed the American team are ready to dismiss the German.

Sportsmail understands Hass boss Gunther Steiner has already decided that Schumacher, the 23-year-old son of legendary seven-time world champion Michael, is surplus to requirements.

The German’s contract expires in December and talks over an extension have gone nowhere.

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