Nikita Mazepin planning ‘return to Formula 1’

Nikita Mazepin competed in the Russian Silk Way Rally in 2022 and managed to claim victory in his category.

Nikita Mazepin at the 2021 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix.v1

Ex-Formula 1 driver Nikita Mazepin has set his sights on a “return to Formula 1”, with the Russian driver planning to race in a “new discipline” for the upcoming season.

Mazepin, of course, was sensationally dropped prior to the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix last year, as a result of his father’s links to the start of the conflict in Eastern Europe.

The driver had no choice but to return to Russia for the entire year, due to there being no other racing series available for him to compete in.

He did manage to take part in the Russian Silk Way Rally last year and incredibly won his category at the event; however, he isn’t planning on returning to the Rally in 2023 to defend his title.

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“I did that out of pleasure and fortunately the pleasure led to victory,” Mazepin said to Tass.

“But I don’t see myself as a professional rally driver. Silk Way is a wonderful competition but for a non-rally driver to really prepare, you’d have to put everything else aside.

“Next year I will also compete for myself in a new discipline outside of our country, but so far there are no signatures. So I can’t tell you about it.

“There is the desire, of course, to continue to compete in motorsport. My goal is to return to Formula 1 so that is the direction I will work in.”

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Mazepin was hoping to make great strides in what would’ve been his second season in Formula 1, given that Haas failed to give the Russian driver or Mick Schumacher a car that could challenge for points, let alone a car that could even break into Q2 in 2021.

Haas replaced Mazepin with the experienced Kevin Magnussen, with the Americans boss Guenther Steiner having no “other” choice but to drop Mazepin following the outbreak of the conflict.

As well as dropping Mazepin, Haas also cut ties with title sponsor Uralkali, resulting in an entire season without a title sponsor.

Incredibly, Steiner doesn’t believe it had “any impact” on the team’s finances, with the side having dealt with the “challenge” of overcoming the issue.

“We couldn’t take any other decision after the invasion of Ukraine,” Steiner told Speedcafe.

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“I think looking back, I think we did the right thing. But no, it didn’t have any impact [financially].

“It certainly impacted the beginning [of the season]. There was a lot of work to be done to get back to where we wanted to be. But otherwise, once we got racing in Bahrain, you see how fast life in F1 is.

“There was never looking back, just let’s get the best out of it. We’ve got an opportunity. It was a challenge. But the challenge gave us an opportunity. Let’s focus on that and let’s keep going.”