Official: Haas terminates Nikita Mazepin's contract

Nikita Mazepin (RUS), Haas F1 Team 09.12.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina
© XPB 

Haas F1 has officially announced that it has terminated its contracts with driver Nikita Mazepin and title sponsor Uralkali with immediate effect.

The action comes in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has created a huge backlash around the world with sanctions against Russian businesses and sportspeople.

Haas had already removed Uralkali branding from its new car for the first pre-season shakedown test last week in Barcelona. The news this morning makes that permanent.

The FIA announced on Tuesday that Russian nationals like Mazepin would still be allowed to compete in global motorsport, provided it was under a neutral flag and they agreed to strict conditions laid down by the sport's governing body.

But the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had initially taken a similar stance, only to reverse itself and called for Russian and Belarusian athletes to be excluded from global sporting events such as the Paralympics.

In the aftermath of this switch, rumours started to circulate on Thursday night that Haas had decided to axe Mazepin.

Sky Germany reported that his place in next week's test and the first Grand Prix of the season in Bahrain seven days later would be taken by their reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi, grandson of two-time F1 world champion Emerson.

Although the team gave no response to this report on Friday, a terse press statement was released on Saturday morning confirming Mazepin's exit:

"Haas F1 Team has elected to terminate, with immediate effect, the title partnership of Uralkali, and the driver contract of Nikita Mazepin," the statement said.

"As with the rest of the Formula 1 community, the team is shocked and saddened by the invasion of Ukraine and wishes for a swift and peaceful end to the conflict."

There was no immediate news about whether Fittipaldi would indeed take the seat, with some reports suggesting that Haas was seeking to secure the more experienced services of Antonio Giovinazzi.

The 28-year-old Italian spent two seasons with Alfa Romeo and completed 62 Grands Prix in total before being let go at the end of last season, and has been competing in Formula E over the winter as well as serving as Ferrari's F1 reserve driver.


Fittipaldi has just two race starts under his belt, having competed in Sakhir and Abu Dhabi at the end of 2020 sitting in for the injured Romain Grosjean following his fiery accident in the Bahrain GP.

The team has already said that the loss of significant funding from Uralkali will not impact the operation of the team, which is owned by American billionaire Gene Haas, and that they would not be seeking a replacement title sponsor at this time.

Russian potash fertiliser producer and exporter Uralkali is co-owned by Dmitry Mazepin, Nikita's father, who is a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Thursday, Formula 1 confirmed it had terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix promoter meaning Russia will no longer have any place on the calendar in the future.

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