The Russian was set to drive for Haas again this season after his debut campaign in 2021 but was prevented from turning a competitive wheel after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
Indeed, that was just one example of many where sport turned its back on the country, with things like the Champions League final also taken away from the country earlier this year.
We also saw the Russian Grand Prix cancelled for this year and indefinitely for seasons to come, whilst Haas and Uralkali, the team’s then-title sponsor and also a company overseen by Mazepin’s father, Dmitry Mazepin, saw their relationship come to an end.
Nikita Mazepin won’t abandon the Russian flag
That said, then, there’s little Russian involvement in F1 as things stand, though we will see Robert Shwartzman drive for Ferrari in two FP1 sessions later this year, with him now using the Israeli flag rather than the Russian which he has in the past, with him having dual nationality.
Mazepin does not have such an option but would not even consider it if he did, nor would he use a neutral flag, even if that meant he might have a chance of returning to F1 – though nothing in that regard has been suggested anyway.
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“People cannot be condemned,” Mazepin said rsport.ria.ru.
“We are athletes and everyone has their own choices, which must be respected.
“[Konstantin] Zhiltsov is not the only one, Robert Shwartzman did the same. There is a question of personal considerations. Whether you want to give up your country for sport and it is more important for you or not. Everyone chooses for himself, but I will not do it.”
It appears as though a return to F1 for Mazepin isn’t massively imminent, then, to put it lightly.
Russia and Ukraine are still at war and for as long as that is going on you cannot see athletes under the Russian flag getting much of a look-in in terms of their respective sports, especially if they have the same stance at Mazepin.
As Nikita mentions, some like Robert Shwartzman have opted to use their other nationalities to carry on with their careers, with the Ferrari academy driver getting a chance to show what he can do at Austin and one other unconfirmed venue later this season in FP1 sessions.