Hungarian Foreign Minister defends Nikita Mazepin

Nikita Mazepin remains keen to return to Formula 1, following his untimely sacking by Haas at the start of 2022.

Hungary’s foreign minister Peter Szijjarto has criticised the European Union for placing sanctions on Nikita Mazepin, stopping him from competing in Formula 1.

Mazepin was sanctioned by several parts of the world following the ignition of the conflict in Eastern Europe, due to his father’s links to the Russian president.

The ex-F1 driver was due to compete in a second season for Haas last year, before he was dropped ahead of the 2022 campaign due to the war starting.

Sanctions placed on him stopped the Russian from entering the European Union and the United Kingdom, both of which he’s since challenged.

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Mazepin successfully had the EU’s sanctions on him overturned, allowing him to enter Europe and compete in motorsport.

He tried to do the same to enter the UK, but his appeal was denied.

Hungary’s foreign minister met with Mazepin in Moscow last Friday and was quick to slam the EU for sanctioning the 24-year-old in the first place, with him noting that it’s a “return to the communist principle”.

“The European Union included Mazepin in the sanctions list, which, unfortunately, is a return to the communist principle,” Szijjarto told Tass news agency

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“In the past, communists held children responsible for the real or perceived actions of their parents.”

Given that Hungary is a member of the EU and NATO, Szijjarto’s criticism of the EU is pressing, with him very much being in defence of Mazepin.

“It is no coincidence that the European Court, in two decisions, ruled that Nikita Mazepin should be allowed to work – that is, to participate in competitions in the EU,” Szijjarto said.

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Mazepin is still hopeful of returning to F1 in the future; however, with him still being sanctioned in various parts of the world it’s unlikely he’d even be able to compete in every race.

However, being allowed to enter Europe does give him the chance to hold talks with various teams in other championships, with racing in the Middle East or Russia having been his only option prior to the EU sanctions being overturned.

Mazepin’s racing appearances since exiting F1 continue to be bleak, with his most recent having been in the Asian Le Mans series at the start of 2023.