Former Formula 1 driver, Nikita Mazepin, has confirmed that he is suing the Haas F1 Team for unpaid wages.
The Russian raced with the Gunther Steiner’s team last year after Uralkali, the company part owned by his father, Dmitry, became a name partner.
That funding allowed the now 23-year-old to drive for them alongside Mick Schumacher, who also made his debut appearance in 2021, and the pair were set to join one another at the American side again this season.
However, Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and the subsequent war has displaced millions, and led to thousands of deaths.
The FIA took swift action, cancelling the Russian Grand Prix, and banning any Russian colours or sponsors from appearing at FIA sanctioned events.
They also ruled that racers and entrants from Russia and Belarus ae to compete under a neutral flag, and they prepared a document for competitors from those countries to sign.
It essentially stated that anyone signing was against the violence being perpetrated by Russia, and that they agreed to the conditions of their presence in motorsport.
Mazepin agreed to sign the document, but sanctions against oligarchs meant that Uralkali’s relationship with Haas was almost impossible to maintain.
Dmitry’s company parted ways with Haas as a result, so Nikita lost his seat, and he was replaced by the returning Kevin Magnussen.
The young Russian has since contested the Silk Way Rally in his home country, but has insisted that he wants to return to Formula 1.
Mazepin has now indicated that he is not for or against the actions of Russia that have led to countless casualties.
“I was one of the first to receive this document back in March, but I would really like athletes to have the opportunity to remain neutral,” he told Ria Novosti.
Co-Rally driver, Konstantin Zhiltsov, gave up his Russian license and took on an Israeli one in order to compete in the Dakar Rally, as did Ferrari reserve driver Robert Shwartzman to continue his duties with the Italian side.
“You can’t blame anyone for that we are athletes and everyone has their own choice,” added Mazepin.
“Zhiltsov is not the only one – Shwartzman did the same, but it is a matter of personal considerations.
“Whether you want to give up your country for the sake of sport, everyone can choose for himself, but I will not do this.”
Russian chess grandmaster and former Ukrainian, Sergey Karjakin, was banned from the tour after voicing his support for Russia’s invasion.
“Karjakin’s words did not surprise me I know Sergey well, I know his position and I respect him,” said Mazepin.
The 23-year-old then confirmed that he is taking Haas to court, as he feels he ought to have received payment under his now terminated contract.
“We filed a lawsuit, which is important – the notice was accepted,” stated Mazepin.
“At the moment, our opponent, the Haas team, has 30 days to respond to the notice from the court. We will find out soon when and where exactly in Switzerland the hearings will take place.”
Haas sit seventh in the Constructors’ Standings heading into the Singapore Grand Prix.