Motorsport: Motor racing-U.S.-owned Haas terminate Russian racer Mazepin’s contract


(Reuters) – Russian Nikita Mazepin is not going to race in Formula One this season after his U.S.-owned Haas squad on Saturday severed ties with the 23-year-old and title sponsor Uralkali over his nation’s invasion of Ukraine.

The outfit didn’t instantly announce a substitute to race alongside German Mick Schumacher, however staff boss Guenther Steiner mentioned final week Brazilian reserve Pietro Fittipaldi would get the “first name”.

Fittipaldi stood in for Romain Grosjean on the 2020 Sakhir and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after the Frenchman’s fiery crash.

“Haas F1 team has elected to terminate, with immediate effect, the title partnership of Uralkali, and the driver contract of Nikita Mazepin,” the team said in a statement.

“As with the rest of the Formula One community, the team is shocked and saddened by the invasion of Ukraine and wishes for a swift and peaceful end to the conflict.”

Mazepin’s future was already wanting unsure after Haas eliminated branding for Uralkali, a Russian potash producer, from their automobile on the final day of the Barcelona take a look at final week within the wake of Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

Uralkali is owned by Mazepin’s Oligarch father, Dmitry, with the 23-year-old’s place on the staff assured by the sponsorship deal.

Mazepin made his debut final season in an all-rookie line-up with Schumacher.

The solely Russian on the grid, he would have been allowed to race in a impartial capability, in keeping with a choice by the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council.

But his participation in particular person races would have been doubtful, particularly after Motorsport UK banned Russian and Belarusian license holders from competing within the nation, elevating the prospect of different nationwide motorsport federations doing the identical.

Haas completed on the backside of the constructors’ standings final yr and had been the one staff to not rating some extent after selecting to forgo improvement of their automobile to give attention to their 2022 challenger designed to this yr’s drastically overhauled guidelines.

But Mazepin’s performances had been additionally underwhelming, with the Russian outperformed by staff mate Schumacher.

His ousting from Haas may mark the top of his profession.

Formula One on Thursday mentioned it is going to not race in Russia after terminating its Russian Grand Prix contract, initially set to run out in 2025.

The sport had already referred to as off its 2022 race within the nation.

Formula One will maintain its last pre-season take a look at in Bahrain from March 10 to 12. The season will get underway within the island kingdom on March 20.

(Reporting by Abhishek Takle; Editing by William Mallard)

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