Mazepin reportedly set to leave Haas

Henry Valantine
Nikita Mazepin returns to his garage.

Nikita Mazepin is dropped off to return to the Haas garage in Barcelona. Spain, February 2022.

A report from Sky Germany has claimed Nikita Mazepin is set to leave Haas, with the team set to replace him with reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi.

Sources from Sky Sports in Germany claim that, despite the fact Mazepin would be allowed to compete in Formula 1 this season under a neutral flag, as was the case in 2021 for the Russian, the team are said to have taken the decision to relieve him of his seat – but this is yet to be confirmed by the team itself.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner admitted recently that Mazepin’s future is something that needs to be resolved, given the complications surrounding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and title sponsors Uralkali, owned by Mazepin’s father Dmitry, with its branding having been removed during pre-season running in Barcelona last week.

Steiner also said that, should Mazepin leave the team, Fittipaldi would have “first call” on partnering Mick Schumacher in 2022.

But a separate report from BILD claims former Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi could be set for a quick return to Formula 1 and take the sport alongside Schumacher for the season ahead, with the 28-year-old having recently moved to Formula E, combining that with Ferrari reserve duties.

Nikita Mazepin in the Uralkali-less Haas VF-22. Spain, February 2022.
Nikita Mazepin drives the Haas VF-22 without Uralkali sponsorship in Barcelona. Spain, February 2022.

Former Williams and Toyota driver Ralf Schumacher, Mick’s uncle, believes Mazepin’s time at the team must come to an end due to the current situation between his home nation and Ukraine, with sporting organisations around the world taking measures to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing on the international stage.

“It has to come to this complete separation now,” Sky Germany analyst Schumacher said. “We have two factors: one is the pressure from outside and the other is the fact that Haas is a US team.

“But Guenther Steiner has emphasised that the team is financially broad enough. I can also imagine that one or the other sponsor will come around the corner now.

“I believe that the team will close this gap.”

Despite questions being raised about his continuation in the sport last week, Mazepin took part in the pre-season shakedown as planned in Barcelona, and he remained confident at the time that he would compete in the official pre-season test in Bahrain next week.

But he also admitted that some factors about his future are beyond his control.

 

“To my fans and followers – it’s a difficult time and I am not in control over a lot of what is being said and done,” Mazepin wrote on social media after Barcelona running had concluded.

“I’m choosing to focus on what I CAN control by working hard and doing my best for my team. My deepest thanks for your understanding and support.”

But should Mazepin remain in Formula 1, Motorsport UK confirmed that he would not be able to compete in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, with Britain’s motorsport body imposing their own rule on who can and cannot race in the country.

Formula 1 also confirmed on Thursday that the sport has cancelled its contract with Russian Grand Prix organisers, stating that the race in Sochi will not happen this year, or in the future.

 

Haas could survive without Uralkali

Guenther Steiner believes that Haas will survive if Uralkali is removed.