Disgraced star Nikita Mazepin says he will not give up his country for F1

Former F1 driver Nikita Mazepin has insisted he won't turn his back on his country even if he gets the chance to return to the sport.

Back in March, Haas axed the Russian driver amid his country's invasion of Ukraine. The American team also cut all ties with main sponsors Uralkali, a company tied to Mazepin's billionaire dad Dmitry.

The driver hit out in the aftermath of his departure, vowing to fight the sanctions against him and other Russian athletes: "If you look at the whole situation that is happening against athletes in the general case, it's cancel culture against my country," he ranted.

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Mazepin failed to win a single point in the 2021 season. In fact, he only finished 15 of the 21 races, and had a season high of 14th place in Azerbaijan.

But if another F1 team are willing to take a gamble on him, there is a potential avenue to avoid the ban. Junior Ferrari driver Robert Shwartzman and Dakar Rally star Konstantin Zhiltsovhas have both now adopted Israel in order to keep competing.

At Wimbledon this year, Moscow-born Natela Dzalamidze got around the sanctions be switching her allegiance from Russia to Georgia. However, Mazepin insists that's a path he's refusing to take.

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"People cannot be condemned. We are athletes and everyone has their own choices, which must be respected," he told rsport.ria.ru. "Zhiltsov is not the only one, Robert Shwartzman did the same."

"There is a question of personal considerations. Whether you want to give up your country for sport and it is more important for you or not – everyone chooses for himself, but I will not do it."

Mazepin, 23, has already outlined plans to sue Haas following his dismissal.

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