Haas fire Mazepin as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues

Nikita Mazepin's contract with Haas has been terminated following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Haas have ended their relationship with Nikita Mazepin with immediate effect, and confirmed the end of their partnership with name partner Uralkali.

Mazepin’s seat was paid for by his father Dmitry, a Russian oligarch who holds shares in the Russia-based firm, and he managed a best  finish of P14 in his debut season alongside fellow rookie Mick Schumacher.

However, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine last week provided a complication for Mazepin’s Formula 1 career.

Haas took the decision last week to remove all Uralkali branding from their cars, trucks and motorhomes, before the FIA stated that Russian and Belarusian drivers would be permitted to race as long as they raced under a neutral flag.

They also imposed a ban on any “flag/symbol or anthem of Russia/Belarus to be used in international/zone competitions, until further notice,” and Formula 1 terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix having already officially cancelled this year’s race.

Further, Motorsport UK banned Russian and Belarusian drivers and competitors from participating in events in the country, meaning Mazepin would have been unable to contest the British Grand Prix.

Heavy sanctions imposed on Russia’s financial sector made it difficult to see how Mazepin’s money could continue to fund the team, and team principal Guenther Steiner acknowledged last week that the contractual situation around the 23-year-old “needs to be resolved.”

They have now resolved it, and Haas announced on Saturday morning that their relationship with Uralkali and Mazepin has ended.

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

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“As with the rest of the Formula 1 community, the team is shocked and saddened by the invasion of Ukraine and wishes for a swift and peaceful resolution to the conflict.”

Pietro Fittipaldi is expected to take the Russian’s place having deputised for the injured Romain Grosjean at the end of 2020.