‘Cancelled athlete’ Nikita Mazepin reveals roadblock in racing revival

Henry Valantine
Former Haas driver Nikita Mazepin.

Former F1 driver Nikita Mazepin has called himself a 'cancelled athlete.'

Former Haas driver Nikita Mazepin has claimed “Europe remains closed to me” as he looks to rebuild his racing career, after arriving in Italy to seek talks with teams.

Mazepin revealed he was in Milan on a national visa as per terms agreed by the European Union’s General Court, but he and father Dmitry remain under sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The 24-year-old was denied entry into the UK earlier this year after losing a court case that would have given him permission to enter to speak to F1 teams over a potential seat, and has largely not raced since leaving the sport abruptly prior to the start of the 2022 season.

Nikita Mazepin ‘won’t stop working on behalf of all cancelled athletes’

Mazepin’s contract with Haas was terminated in the days leading up to the 2022 season after Russia invaded Ukraine, along with Haas ending its title sponsorship with Uralkali, the firm run by his father.

While the EU’s General Court partially suspended sanctions against Mazepin in September regarding his motorsport activities, he would remain on a general blacklist, with the Russian driver having largely avoided discussing the invasion of Ukraine publicly.

But having been allowed to enter Italy, Mazepin still believes the rest of the continent “remains closed” to him.

“It’s been nearly 600 days since my last trip to Europe for F1 tests in Barcelona,” Mazepin wrote on Instagram.

“For now, Europe remains closed to me. I was allowed into Italy on a national visa, but that was as far as I was permitted to go.

“It would seem that the journey should be a lot faster in the modern world, but that’s the way it is. As though I’m walking there.

“Of course, none of this helps the development of a sporting career, when you can’t move around freely and participate in negotiations. But the need to train and prepare for competitions remains, so I have been working on my health and on keeping myself in shape.

“I won’t stop working on behalf of all cancelled athletes either, including myself.”

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Regarding his visit to Milan, he expressed his disappointment at not being allowed to move around Europe more freely for testing and to try and get his racing career back on track.

“I have indeed travelled to Italy for professional reasons, as the president of the General Court authorised me to do,” Mazepin confirmed to Bloomberg.

“However limited this first opportunity was, I see it as a valuable step to rebuilding my sporting career.

“Despite the fact that I also had invitations for tests and negotiations in other EU countries, I was not able to pursue them because I was only granted a national Italian visa, not an EU travel document.

“I am advised this is inconsistent with the order of the EU General Court.”

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