NIKITA MAZEPIN has lashed out at the Haas F1 team and claimed they showed him no support during his sacking.
The 23-year-old Russian says he only discovered he was axed via the team’s press release and has not even spoken to team boss, Guenther Steiner.
Russian Nikita Mazepin was axed by Haas following Russian’s war with UkraineCredit: PA
Mazepin claims team boss Guenther Steiner has not spoken to him about his firingCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Mazepin, whose father Dimitry is a close friend to Vladimir Putin, was given the boot following Russia’s war with Ukraine and subsequent sanctions put on the country and it’s athletes.
Mazepin has been prevented from racing in the British GP by Motorsport UK, while the FIA said Russian racers would be forced to compete under a neutral flag.
Mazepin said: “I learned about the firing the same time as it had been released to the press. I’m a young man at 23, and I was not ready for it.
“I did not receive any hint, or any support to say ‘you know, this is the decision we’ve taken, it’s going to go live in 15 minutes, just be ready for it’.
“I had a lot of messages from people, and I just learned at the same time as everyone did.
“I haven’t spoken to Guenther since I left Barcelona on the third day of testing.
“Guenther gave me no information about what decision the team is going to take, aside from the information that he has been giving my manager up to March 4.
“And then the press release came, I read it and found out that my contract had been terminated. But I did not speak to him personally.”
Haas, who were sponsored by Mazepin’s father’s chemical company, also removed the logos from their F1 car during testing in Barcelona in February.
And now the Russian company wants their money back from Haas, which Mazepin will use to start a fund for other athletes who are prevented from competing due to being banned while Russia remains at war.
WAS WILLING TO COMPETE AS NEUTRAL
And while he would not speak about his support for Putin or the war, Mazepin hinted he was willing to go along with the FIA’s stipulation to remain neutral.
He added: “I have been aiming and planning to compete as a neutral.
“This was firstly allowed by the FIA, the decision that they took, and I without any issues was happy to agree to that decision.
“However, the night before my contract was terminated, there was an additional letter which was made [by the FIA].
“By the time that we were processing that letter and looking at options, because there were a lot of clauses in it, the next morning early on I received the termination of my contract.
“There was no time to even say ‘yes’ to [the second letter], I have just been fired.”
He has now put himself on collision course with F1 by curiously naming his fund “We Compete As One” – almost identical to F1’s “We Race As One” anti-racism and inclusivity message.