Russian driver Nikita Mazepin dropped from the Haas F1 team
US-based Haas F1 has terminated the contract of its Russian driver, Nikita Mazepin, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The US-based outfit - which entered Formula One in 2016 and was founded by NASCAR team owner Gene Haas - said: “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.”
Haas had already removed the Uralkali branding from its VF-22 F1 car ahead of the final day of F1 testing in Barcelona on 25 February, opting to run a plain white livery instead.
Responding on Twitter, Mazepin said: “I am very disappointed to hear that my F1 contract has been terminated. 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.
“I have treasured my time in F1 and genuinely hope we can all be together again in better times.”
The decision by Haas to drop Mazepin from its driver line-up comes in the wake of the FIA’s decision that drivers from Russia and Belarus would have to compete in a “neutral capacity under the ‘FIA flag’".
F1 has also chosen to permanently cancel the Russian Grand Prix. A race had been held in Sochi every year since 2014 and was scheduled to move to St Petersburg in 2023, but following the “current circumstances”, F1 said it was “impossible” to hold an event there.