Nikita Mazepin intends to fight against the sanctions placed upon him by the European Union amid Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Nikita is the son of Dmitry Mazepin, a Russian oligarch who part owns the Uralkali firm and has close links to the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Dmitry funded his son’s seat when Uralkali became the title sponsor of the Haas team last season, but it quickly became apparent that the financial gain for Haas outgrew Mazepin’s ineptitude as a litany of mistakes from the Russian cost his team money and resources.
Following Putin’s decision to order his troops to invade Ukraine in late February, Haas took the decision to remove all Uralkali branding from their cars, trucks and motorhomes, before the FIA placed a ban on Russian and Belarusian branding appearing in global motorsport.
The relationship between the parties became untenable, and the partnership was severed, resulting in the end of Mazepin’s contract with the team.
The FIA created a document placing a contingency on the participation in events from Russian and Belarusian competitors that they had to condemn the invasion and agree to the emergency regulations they had put in place, including that all racers from those countries are to compete under the neutral flag.
Mazepin complied with this, and stated that this had been “ignored” by Haas.
Dmitry was sanctioned by the EU due to his links to Putin, and the same fate awaited Nikita due to his association with the Russian president.
The EU described Mazepin as a “person associated with a leading businessperson involved in economic sectors providing a substantial source of revenue to the government of the Russian Federation”.
In a fresh interview, Mazepin described the action taken against him and fellow Russian competitors as “cancel culture.”
“I don’t agree with being in the sanctions and I’ve said previously that I intend to fight it,” he told the BBC.
“Perhaps now is not the right time, because if you look at the whole situation that’s happening against athletes in the general case, it’s cancel culture against my country.”
He was asked of his position on the war Russia has waged on Ukraine and, while he insinuated that he is against the violence being perpetrated by his country, he refused to go into further detail in fear of his words being misconstrued.
“It is very painful to watch that on many levels,” he said.
“My feelings, they obviously changed as a human being and as a person that wants to live in a very peaceful world, but I will be honest with you, I see tremendous risks in saying anything at all about this case because I will never satisfy everyone and therefore I will keep myself publicly quiet.”
Mazepin has been replaced at Haas by Kevin Magnussen, who has scored points in each of the first two rounds of the 2022 season.