Axed Haas driver Nikita Mazepin is set to hold a press conference on Wednesday morning to discuss his exit from the Formula 1 team.
Last Saturday, Haas announced they had cut all ties with Mazepin and title sponsor Uralkali – a Russian potash fertiliser company owned by Nikita’s father Dmitry – with immediate effect, creating an open driver seat to be filled alongside Mick Schumacher in the Haas garage with the 2022 season looming large on the horizon.
The FIA has taken a softer stance compared to most international sporting bodies, allowing Russian and Belarusian drivers to compete under a neutral flag until further notice, but individual racing bodies have issued an outright ban on all Russian Belarusian drivers, meaning Mazepin’s potential race schedule was in danger of shrinking rapidly.
While Haas felt it was in their best interests to eliminate all Russian association with the team, Mazepin did state shortly after Haas’ initial announcement that he was willing be stripped of all the elements that identify him as a Russian driver – but his now former employers simply ignored his plea.
A statement from Nikita Mazepin following his dismissal from Haas. #F1 https://t.co/4cVyWkqCnw
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) March 5, 2022
“Dear fans and followers,” Mazepin wrote.
“I am very disappointed to hear that my F1 contract has been terminated. While I understand the difficulties, the ruling from the FIA plus my ongoing willingness to accept the conditions proposed in order to continue were completely ignored and no process was followed in this unilateral step.
“To those who have tried to understand, my eternal thanks. I have treasured my time in F1 and genuinely hope we all be together again in better times.
“I will have more to say in the coming days.”
That promise of “more to say” is set to follow on Wednesday morning, with Mazepin ready to give his full version of events over his axing just as he was about to put the finishing touches to his preparation for the upcoming 2022 campaign.
Mazepin’s replacement has yet to be revealed by Haas, but Pietro Fittipaldi is the still the name being tipped to take part in the Bahrain test, starting Thursday, and potentially the opening race of the 2022 season.
However, it now appears unlikely that Fittipaldi will be the one to partner Schumacher for the whole year, with F2 Champion Oscar Piastri, Red Bull-backed F2 driver Jehan Daruvala and Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi all being linked with the vacant seat.
Given Mazepin’s claims that he was willing to adhere to all of the FIA’s new requirements to continue racing in Formula 1, he is sure to have plenty to say about the process which ultimately lead to his dismissal.
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