Nikita Mazepin: Ex-Haas driver slammed into team after sacking, Kevin Magnussen considered replacement – Reuters

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Nikita Mazepin was sacked by Haas after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The sacked Formula 1 driver Nikita Mazepin said his dismissal by Haas left him “no confidence” in the team.

Team USA Haas was under immense pressure to act on the future of Russian driver Mazepin after his country invaded Ukraine, and the sport around the world has severed ties with Russia.

F1’s governing body, the FIA, had said Russian and Belarusian athletes could compete at their events under a neutral flag as long as they formally accepted the organisation’s principles of peace and neutrality, but Mazepin said he was fired before he had the chance. Do this.

Speaking from Moscow for the first time since his dismissal, Mazepin said: “I was ready to accept this and see myself as impartial.

“When they added an additional letter that I had to sign, I didn’t look because my contract was already terminated. »

Mazepin also said he learned through a press release that his contract had been terminated and did not rule out the possibility of taking legal action against Haas.

“I don’t want to be in a team that doesn’t want me,” Mazepin said.

“Formula 1 is a dangerous sport and you have to trust the team you’re working with. It’s a safety issue and it’s fair to say I don’t trust them that much.

“It is good to keep all (legal) options open. There was no legal reason to let the team terminate my contract.

“I was very disappointed with the way it was handled. I was told that if the FIA ​​allows me to race by their rules and I agree with them, no action will be taken to remove me from the seat.

“I haven’t heard from the team since the incident happened and I learned that I was fired as soon as it was reported to the press.

“I am a young man and I was not ready for this. I did not receive or hear any hints or support that this was the decision we made. I learned at the same time as you.

“I lost the dream I had worked for for 18 years. I never thought that losing my disk would happen so quickly.

“But I certainly don’t see Formula 1 as a closed division. I will stay in a racing situation and be ready to seize an opportunity that comes up.”

Haas considers replacing Mazepin with Magnussen

Haas is investigating the possibility of ex-driver Kevin Magnussen replacing Mazepin ahead of the new season.

Magnussen, who raced for Haas for four seasons before letting the team go at the end of the 2020 season, had previously raced for McLaren and Renault.

The Dane has explored different forms of racing since leaving F1, competing in the IMSA SportsCar Championship and the IndyCar Series, but now looks set to race alongside Germany’s Mick Schumacher when the season starts on 20 March in Bahrain – livestream sky sports.

Kevin Magnussen could replace Mazepin at Haas ahead of new F1 season

Kevin Magnussen could replace Mazepin at Haas ahead of new F1 season

Brazilian reserve Pietro Fittipaldi will test for Haas in Bahrain on Thursday after Mazepin leaves.

A spokesperson said the vehicles arrived late at the Sakhir runway on Tuesday, after air transport was delayed due to a technical issue.

“This delay will affect our schedule, but we aim to move forward with Pietro Fittipaldi behind the wheel of the VF-22 for the second session Thursday afternoon,” he said without further details.

Fittipaldi, grandson of double world champion Emerson, replaced Romain Grosjean at the 2020 Sakhir and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix.

Haas finished last in 2021 and are the only team to fail to score after focusing entirely on improving their car for this year’s major rule changes.

Mazepin’s billionaire father Haas wants to recoup his sponsorship money

Mazepin’s father, oligarch Dmitry Mazepin, is a co-owner of Haas’ former main sponsor, Uralkali (also a broken contract), and an aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In a statement from the company, “Uralkali has made significant contributions to global food security for many years and provides significant assistance to various sports associations, organizations and events in Russia and abroad. The company finds the decision of the team unreasonable. Sport is always free from politics and the pressure of external factors. believes it should.

In view of the foregoing, Uralkali intends to protect its interests in accordance with the applicable legal procedures and reserves the right to take legal action, seek compensation and reimbursement of substantial sums paid by Uralkali for the 2022 Formula 1 season.

Valtteri Bottas supports Formula 1's decision to cancel the Russian Grand Prix, while Mick Schumacher

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Valtteri Bottas supports Formula 1’s decision to cancel the Russian Grand Prix, while Mick Schumacher is “saddened” by the situation in Ukraine

Valtteri Bottas supports Formula 1’s decision to cancel the Russian Grand Prix, while Mick Schumacher is “saddened” by the situation in Ukraine

“Given that most of the sponsorship funds for the 2022 season have already been transferred to Haas and the team terminated their sponsorship deal before the first race of the 2022 season, Haas has therefore not fulfilled its obligations to Uralkali for this season.

“Uralkali will seek immediate reimbursement of amounts received by Haas. Haas’ repayment and the remainder of Uralkali’s 2022 sponsor funding will be used to establish the We Compete as Athletes support foundation. »

Mazepin: I was supported by other pilots

Mazepin says he has received messages of support from other F1 drivers, including Briton George Russell.

“I appreciated the few drivers who expressed their support for me,” Mazepin said.

Sergio (Perez), Valtteri (Bottas), Charles (Leclerc) and George (Russell) contacted me.

Mazepin says he has received messages of support from other F1 drivers

Mazepin says he has received messages of support from other F1 drivers

“They know how important the situation is and have shown their support after losing the opportunity to compete.

“The messages were only on a personal level, not political – to hold their heads high as athletes were hurt and their lives ruined after such a decision. »

During a five-minute monologue, Mazepin also announced the creation of a foundation called We Compete as One to support athletes who are “banned and collectively sanctioned from competing solely because of their passports.”

It has been four days since I was sacked and I can say that there is no one to protect the athletes who find themselves in this situation and that I want to be the first aider. »