- FIA has allowed Russian drivers to compete under a neutral flag
- Decision comes after Motorsport UK banned Russian drivers from competing in the country
Russian Formula One driver Nikita Mazepin has been sacked by Haas with immediate effect.
Mazepin’s contract has been terminated by the American-owned team following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
His father, oligarch Dmitry Mazepin, is a part-owner of Haas’ title sponsor, Uralkali, and an associate of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Haas confirmed their partnership with Uralkali has also been terminated.
A statement read: 'Haas F1 Team has elected to terminate, with immediate effect, the title partnership of Uralkali, and the driver contract of Nikita Mazepin.
'As with the rest of the Formula One community, the team is shocked and saddened by the invasion of Ukraine and wishes for a swift and peaceful end to the conflict.'
Formula One's governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA), has allowed Russian drivers to continue racing, albeit under a neutral flag.
But the sporting federation said on Friday that all drivers must agree to its principles of peace and neutrality and “acknowledge the strong commitment made by the FIA to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, the Federation Automobile d’Ukraine, and all of those suffering as a result of the ongoing conflict”.
Mazepin expressed his disappointment at the decision and said he had accepted the principles set out by the FIA.
‘Dear fans and followers, I am very disappointed to hear that my F1 contract has been terminated,’ Mazepin wrote on Twitter.
‘While I understand the difficulties, the ruling from FIA plus my ongoing willingness to accept the conditions proposed in order to continue were completely ignored and no process was followed in this unilateral step.
‘To those who have tried to understand, my eternal thanks. I have treasured my time in F1 and genuinely hope we can all be together again in better times. I will have more to say in the coming days.’
Formula One also ended its contract with the Russian Grand Prix on Thursday, while Motorsport UK announced Russian-licenced drivers will be banned from competing in the United Kingdom.
Haas said Mazepin’s replacement will be named this week. The team’s reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi, grandson of double world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, has been linked with the seat.
The concluding three-day pre-season test begins in Bahrain on Thursday ahead of the opening round in the Gulf Kingdom on 20th March.