Following the Haas Formula 1 team’s decision to drop Uralkali as the team’s title sponsor, as a result of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the US outfit has terminated its contract with Nikita Mazepin.
Uralkali is partly owned by Mazepin’s father, Dmitri Mazepin, a Russian oligarch who was present at a meeting with Putin at the Kremlin hours after the invasion began on February 24.
Haas did not waste any time in removing all Uralkali sponsorship stickers or colours, which closely resembled the Russian flag, and its strong stance on the sensitive topic led to speculation that Mazepin would lose his seat in F1.
On Saturday, March 5 Mazepin broke the news to his fans on Instagram and Twitter, expressing his disappointment at having his contract terminated and that his “willingness to accept the conditions proposed in order to continue were completely ignored”.
The statement reads “Dear fans and followers, I am very disappointed to hear that my F1 contract has been terminated. While I understand the difficulties, the ruling from FIA plus my ongoing willingness to accept the conditions proposed in order to continue were completely ignored and no process was followed in unilateral step. To those who have tried to understand, my eternal thanks. I have treasured my time in F1 and genuinely hope we can all be together again in better times. I will have more to say in the coming days.”
F1’s governing body, the FIA has banned Russian and Belarusian competitors from racing under their native flags, while Motorsport UK has outright banned competitors from both countries from competing in its series.
Haas said news on Mazepin’s replacement can be expected early next week.