Nikita Mazepin Heading to Court to Fight For His F1 Return
Nikita Mazepinning down an F1 seat.
For just one short year, we got to see Russian racing driver Nikita Mazepin struggle his way through a Formula 1 season. In his one and only year in the sport (so far) the young racer spun out on his first corner, failed to score a point and finished the season 21st in a lineup of 20 full-time drivers. But now, the Russian racer is fighting for a return to F1.
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Nikita Mazepin was signed by American F1 team Haas for the 2021 season after Uralkali, the fertilizer company owner by his farther Dmitry Mazepin took out a title sponsorship deal with the team. But as testing was beginning on his second year in the sport, Mazepin junior was dropped by Haas, and his dad’s sponsorship deal was canned after Russia invaded Ukraine in March 2022.
Nikita Mazespinning out the race.
What’s more, because of the Mazepins’ close ties to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, the family was one the receiving end of sanctions imposed by the UK, Canada and Europe following the country’s invasion.
Now, ESPN reports that Nikita Mazepin is preparing to head to court in the UK to try and fight down sanctions imposed by the British government. ESPN reports:
“Nikita Mazepin was dropped last March by his team Haas, which also severed ties with its title sponsor Uralkali URKAI.MM, a Russian fertilizer producer then controlled by his father, Belarus-born oligarch Dmitry Mazepin.
“Both were later sanctioned by Britain, Canada, and the European Union, who described Dmitry Mazepin as ‘a member of the closest circle’ of Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
According to ESPN, those pesky sanctions are getting in young Nikita’s way of negotiating a return to F1. The sanctions in question include an asset freeze and travel ban on Nikita, which his lawyers say is preventing him from opening negotiations with F1 teams about a potential seat in 2024.
Haas haad no choice but to drop Nikita Mazepin last year.
As it stands, there are just five drivers on the current Formula 1 grid that are out of contract at the end of 2023. Lewis Hamilton, Zhou Guanyu, Yuki Tsunoda, Logan Sargeant and Nico Hulkenberg all have contracts that finish at the end of this year, meaning that Mazepin is eyeing drives with Mercedes, Alfa Romeo, AlphaTauri, Williams and even his old team: Haas.
Mazepin’s lawyers argue that as long as the sanctions remain in place, the Russian racer is unable to “develop a relationship with team staff before the 2024 season.” However, lawyers representing Britain’s Foreign Office responded by pointing out that Mazepin could negotiate with F1 teams while the sanctions are in place, ESPN reports. Does Mazepin not have a Zoom premium subscription yet?
A hearing is expected to take place in June, where Mazepin will argue that his sanctions should be temporarily lifted while he prepares his full legal challenge. The hearing for that final challenge is expected in July, giving Mazepin a few months to sweet talk Toto Wolff or new AlphaTauri boss Laurent Mekies into giving him a seat.
Nikita Mazpining for his confiscated holiday home
Until then, the young Russian will have to fill his days working on his charity to support athletes on the receiving end of political sanctions.
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