‘Formula 1: Drive to Survive’ became a runaway hit when its first season came out in 2019. Now, three years later, Netflix is back with the fourth season, tracking the drivers and the teams as they go through the 2021 championship season. Among the many changes from 2020 is the Haas F1 team entering the races with a rookie pairing: Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.
Nikita’s first year in Formula 1 proved to be challenging amidst middling performances and his status as a pay driver. However, recent international developments have left him without a seat for the 2022 season. So, if you’re curious to find out what happened, we’ve got you covered.
Where is Nikita Mazepin Now?
Nikita’s career in carting started well, and he moved on to compete in the Formula 3 European championship in 2016. He was in hot water right away after a physical altercation with fellow driver Callum Ilott. Nikita was banned from the first race, and Callum ended up with cuts on the face and some swelling in his jaw. He finished 20th in the championship before succeeding in the GP3 Series, ending with second in the drivers’ championship.
After two seasons in Formula 2, where he finished 18th and fifth, Haas F1 Team announced Nikita as one of their two rookie drivers who would race for them in 2021. At the time, the company was having a tough year financially, and Nikita came with monetary backing through his father, Dmitry. He is the chairman of Uralchem. Regarding the move, team principal Guenther Steiner said, “Nikita Mazepin is one of the talented drivers in Formula 2 this year, and his father has got a very successful company as well, which he may want to promote.”
Controversy followed Nikita when a video from his Instagram account appeared to show him grope a woman’s breast. While he quickly deleted and apologized for his behavior, many fans called for his axing from the team. Later, Nikita’s foray into Formula 1 was anything but smooth. In his very first race, he crashed on the first lap after just turn three. Nikita struggled with penalties throughout the year and was handily beaten by his teammate.
In March 2022, after Russia invaded Ukraine, Haas F1 Team decided to terminate the partnership with their Russian sponsors and immediately removed Nikita from his seat. In the same month, the European Union placed sanctions on Nikita and his father after it was alleged that Dmitry was part of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. The racer was disappointed with his sacking from Formula 1, posting a statement on social media which read, in part, “While I understand the difficulties, the ruling from FlA 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.”
It seems that Nikita has since moved back to Moscow, Russia, and in a recent press conference, criticized Haas F1 Team for the way things went down. He said, “I do not want to be at a team that doesn’t want me. Formula One is a dangerous sport, and you have to rely on the team you are working with. It is a question of safety, and it is fair to say I don’t have that trust in them.”
Nikita further added that he knew of his firing only through the press release and not before. He said, “I lost my dream, which I have been working towards for 18 years. I didn’t imagine the situation of losing my drive would happen so soon. But I absolutely do not see Formula One as a closed chapter.” Nikita has since announced a foundation called We Compete As One to “help athletes who have been blocked from competing for political reasons.”
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