Mazepin hits out at Haas over contract termination
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Nikita Mazepin could be about to make his motorsport series return after his axe from Formula 1. The Russian driver was set for his second season in F1 this year alongside Mick Schumacher at Haas after failing to yield a point in his first campaign.
But the US team quickly opted to sack Mazepin before the start of the season after being put under huge pressure to act following Russia’s invasion into Ukraine. Sports around the world moved quickly to cut ties from Russian athletes after Vladmir Putin’s invasion – but the FIA did make it clear that drivers from Russians could compete on the grid, provided they did not voice any support for the country’s war stance.
However, Haas quickly dismissed Mazepin and removed sponsor Ukralkaki, a company owned by the racer’s oligarch father Dmitry Mazepin. And there has been no indication that Mazepin will return to the F1 paddock after being ousted in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine.
But the 23-year-old could make an international racing return as early as February, before the 2023 F1 season gets underway. According to Endurance-info, Mazepin is set to compete in the upcoming Asian Le Mans series Championship.
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It is reported that the prospect will drive for Racing 99, a new team in the championship, in the first two races in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Mazepin is yet to confirm or deny the reports over the venture, but the move could signal an intent to get his motor racing career back on track after a year of deep frustration.
“I plan to compete in a new discipline outside of Russia,” Mazepin told Russian source Championat. ”I hope that it will be possible to talk more specifically about it in January.”
Mazepin, meanwhile, was angered by his handling of his Haas exit as he reflected on how swiftly he was shown the exit door by Haas. He was left considering legal action after finding out his contract was terminated through a press release.
“I do not want to be at a team that doesn’t want me,” Mazepin said earlier this year. “Formula One is a dangerous sport and you have to rely on the team you are working with. It is a question of safety, and it is fair to say I don’t have that trust in them.
“It is good to keep all (legal) options open. There was no legal reason that could enable the team to terminate my contract. I have not heard from the team since it happened and I learnt about the firing of me the same time it was released to the press.”
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