Max Verstappen has faced a lot of criticism surrounding his success in recent year, with now both of his titles being labelled “invalid”.
The Dutchman’s success in 2021 is seen as fraudulent in the eyes of some Formula 1 fans, who believe that Lewis Hamilton was robbed of a record breaking eighth world title by Verstappen, following Michael Masi’s controversial decision making at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Now, the 25-year-old’s 2022 title has come under fire, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine bizarrely being used as the reason why Verstappen’s title should not be valid.
In the wake of the invasions beginning, Russian drivers were banned from racing in Formula 1 unless they race under a neutral flag, putting the likes of Robert Shwartzman and Nikita Mazepin in a difficult position.
Shwartzman decided to switch to his Israeli passport to continue working with Ferrari but Haas decided to cut ties with Mazepin and their title sponsor Uralkali, who are owned by Mazepin’s father.
Former F1 driver Vitaly Petrov has now argued that if Russian athletes are banned from sports, then the competitions should not be considered as valid.
“Without Russia, I don’t consider a single champion or Olympic title to be valid,” he told Russian media.
“We have to stop being afraid of our people and bring Russian back into world sport.
“For me, it’s not acceptable. I don’t understand at all tis absurdity of imposing certain opinions on people. We can use the current situation as an impetus for the development of motorsport, training young people to guide them further into the future.”
With the war still ongoing, it seems unlikely that the FIA will lift their ban anytime soon, leaving Russian drivers out in the cold.
Nikita Mazepin was very vocal about his sacking from Haas at the time, claiming that their decision was unfair as he had offered to speak with the team to come to an understanding surrounding his stance towards his nationality.
It is believed however that the Russian’s seat heavily depended on the money brought in by his father’s company, meaning that after Haas cut ties with Uralkali, Mazepin’s talent alone was not enough to keep him in F1.