Former Formula 1 driver, Nikita Mazepin, has criticised Haas team principal, Guenther Steiner, for the way he handled the Russian’s departure from the team this year.
The now 23-year-old signed with Haas at the beginning of last year, partnering fellow rookie, Mick Schumacher, who comfortably out-performed him.
There were glimpses of pace from the young driver though, so he was kept on alongside Schumacher, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine changed everything.
Sanctions were placed upon Russia, including its oligarchs, particularly those close to Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
One of Putin’s close friends is Mazepin’s father, Dmitry, who part owns the Uralkali potash-producing firm.
The Russian’s money funded Nikita’s seat, but Uralkali’s relationship with Haas ended due to the sanctions placed upon them.
As a result, Mazepin was forced out of the American team, despite having signed an FIA document stating his compliance with conditions of Russian and Belarusian competition in the pinnacle of motorsport.
Mazepin feels that Haas were unlawful in their dismissal of him, and he is suing them for unpaid wages.
The Moscow-born driver found out about his departure the same way the rest of the world did, so his relationship with Steiner is not at an all-time high at present.
Therefore, Mazepin would have no interest in returning to the Banbury-based team were he to go back to the pinnacle of motorsport.
“I don’t want to go back there even if the rules are followed, because I don’t want to be in Formula 1 at any cost,” he told TASS.
“Human qualities are also important to me, so when a team boss behaves like that, then I think there are nine other teams with whom I can have a dialogue.
“I think one day I will be [in F1] as a businessman, but there is no hurry.”
Mazepin is optimistic that he will be awarded compensation after what he feels was an unfair dismissal.
“The sanctions do not give anyone the right to circumvent the laws prescribed by contract law, I believe in truth and that the judge will do his job,” he explained.
Haas are yet to finalise their 2023 driver line-up, with Schumacher out of contract at the end of the season, but Mazepin is not considered to be one of the candidates for the seat.