Ex-F1 driver reveals FIA negotiations to lift restrictions on Russian F1 racers

The FIA placed certain conditions on Russian drivers following Russia’s shock invasion of Ukraine last year.

At the start of 2022, the shock news broke that Russia had begun a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Formula 1 were quick to react and cut ties with Russia, taking the Russian Grand Prix off the race calendar and placing special restrictions on Russian drivers.

Haas sacked their Russian driver Nikita Mazepin and cut ties with their title sponsor Uralkali, which is owned by Dmitry Mazepin.

The restrictions on Russian drivers meant that Mazepin has been unable to return to F1, with any Russians wishing to compete under the FIA needing to race under a different flag.

READ: ‘He had to go public with that’: Martin Brundle on Lewis Hamilton throwing Mercedes under the bus

Ferrari test driver Robert Shwartzman decided last year to switch allegiances and race under the flag of Israel, with the 23-year-old holding in Israeli passport as well as a Russian one.

It has recently been confirmed that Nikita Mazepin has won a court case with Europe’s court of justice to travel from Russia to Europe for negotiations with F1 teams, making a return to the sport a possibility.

Former Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin is not the vice-president of the Russian Automobile Federation and believes that even though Mazepin has got the green light to negotiate with F1, the FIA will not overturn their decision on Russian drivers.

“I can’t say that the negotiations are super active,” said the 27-year-old when asked by Tass about talks between the RAF and the FIA.

Article continues below

Whilst Mazepin is allowed to talk to Formula 1 teams, the court have noted that the former Haas driver is still “subject to restrictive measures,” which involve the Russian signing a number of FIA documents.

READ: Mercedes admit they will make ‘radical changes’ as Lewis Hamilton continues to stall

It also remains to be seen whether a Formula 1 team would choose to take a gamble of Nikita Mazepin following his disastrous season with Haas back in 2021.

The 24-year-old was nicknamed ‘Mazespin’ following his tendency to crash or spin his Haas car almost every weekend.

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine still ongoing, it seems almost certain that the FIA will continue to limit the involvement of Russia in Formula 1, making a return for Russian drivers highly unlikely.