‘The problem is Russian funding’: Marko gives his take on risk of Mazepin losing Haas seat

The new ruling will likely mean Nikita Mazepin is unable to contest the 2022 British Grand Prix.

The UK’s motorsports governing body has announced that Russian superlicense holders are to be banned from competing in the country, meaning Haas’ Nikita Mazepin will almost certainly be unable to contest the 2022 British Grand Prix.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine last week following months of tension as Russian troops were moved to the border.

This “unprovoked” act of war has sparked global condemnation, and various sanctions have been placed against Moscow since the invasion began, while the Russian Grand Prix has been cancelled by the FIA.

They have still allowed Russian and Belarusian drivers to race, but they must use a neutral flag.

Former Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok recently suggested that racing drivers from these countries can apply to race under a different license to “cut ties with Russia.”

Chair of Motorsport UK, David Richards, affirms the UK motorsport governing body’s position that they stand united with Ukraine in the face of Russia’s aggression.

“The entire Motorsport UK community condemns the acts of war by Russia and Belarus in Ukraine and expresses its solidarity and support towards all those affected by the ongoing conflict,” he said.

“We stand united with the people of Ukraine and the motorsport community following the invasion and the unacceptable actions that have unfolded. This is a time for the international motorsport community to act and show support for the people of Ukraine and our colleagues at the Federation Automobile d’Ukraine (FAU).”

He then outlined that no Russian or Belarusian drivers, competitors, colours, flags or branding will be permitted at UK motorsport events.

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Russian and Belarusian branding has also been prohibited in F1 by the FIA, meaning that Mazepin may be left without a seat, should Uralkali – the Russian firm in which Mazepin’s father Dmitry holds shares – see their partnership with the Haas team severed.

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko sees no issue with the 22-year-old remaining in the sport, but would like to see all Russian funding cut off from Formula 1.

“If Mazepin can stay in the team without the financial support of Uralkali, then in my opinion there is no need to exclude him because of his citizenship,” he told RTL.

“[Daniil] Medvedev has not been expelled from international tennis either. The problem is Russian funding.”

Due to the prohibition and isolation of many parts of the Russian financial sector, the Austrian predicts that it will be difficult for Russian sponsors to provide funding anyway.

“With all the measures to restrict payment transactions, further financing will not be possible at all, I think that takes care of it on its own,” he added.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner was unable to elaborate on the Uralkali situation for legal reasons having removed their branding from the cars, trucks and motorhomes during pre-season testing last week, but he has affirmed that Mazepin’s contractual situation, given that his seat is paid for by his father, “needs to be resolved.”

Formula1News.co.uk has sent a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Ferrari regarding the possible end to their partnership with Russian brand Kaspersky, but we have not yet received a reply.

Team principal Mattia Binotto has, however, recently maintained that Kaspersky is a “global company.”