Ferrari: Mick Schumacher drives in father’s title-winning car
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Haas F1 driver Nikita Mazepin has hit the headlines once again over his comments about the Russian Grand Prix amid the country’s invasion of Ukraine. However, it’s not the first time he has been in the spotlight.
The driver, who was born in Moscow, was heard saying on Wednesday when quizzed about the Russian GP: “As an athlete competing at the highest level you know what’s going on in the world at the moment and obviously it involves Russia.
“I’m not struggling at all because I’ve always been a big supporter of sports without politics and today I’m in Barcelona.”
The 22-year-old’s father Dmitry has been pictured meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin in the past, and it’s understood Haas fear sanctions on Uralkali – a potash fertiliser and title sponsor of Haas which his dad is chairman of – could restrict their funding in the near future.
As a result, rumours suggest Haas could let Mazepin go less than a month before the new season begins.
In response to the rumours and his previous comments, Mazepin tweeted: “To my fans and followers – it’s a difficult time and I am not in control over a lot of what is being said and done.
“I’m choosing to focus on what I CAN control by working hard and doing my best for my @HaasF1Team. My deepest thanks for your understanding and support.”
JUST IN: Nikita Mazepin issues response as Haas consider ripping up Russian’s F1 contract
But the inexperienced F1 driver is no stranger to controversy and his Haas teammate Mick Schumacher found himself on the receiving end of one of his tirades last September.
During qualifying for the 2021 Dutch Grand Prix, Mazepin was furious with his German colleague when the pair battled for track position during the first qualifying session.
Their inability to get on the same page saw them block Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and the four-time champion almost collided with them as he navigated the 13th turn of the Zandvoort circuit.
Mazepin voiced his frustration with his teammate afterwards, claiming he intentionally “f****d” his opportunity to set a lap time.
“I’m really annoyed to be honest,” he fumed.
“How the rules in a Formula 1 team works, one weekend you’re the first car, next weekend you’re the second car. This weekend it was my turn to be the first car.
“I once in Imola overtook the first car when I was the second car and I got a b********g from the team.”
He continued: “And now this has happened to me for the second time where my team-mate overtakes me and then bumps me into the traffic and then f***s my last attempt in qualifying on purpose.
“So I’m not happy because if you do it once and you didn’t know about it, that’s fine, but when you do it twice, that’s deliberate…
“There shouldn’t be any tension like that in the team, so I’m f****d off.”
Schumacher objected to Mazepin’s claims and believes he did nothing wrong at that moment in time and said: “From my point of view I did everything the right way. It was discussed publicly on the radio.
“Obviously you can’t hear that but it was, so obviously we’re both in a situation that wasn’t great because the last corner wasn’t easy.
“Sebastian… is the last person I want to block on this grid, so very sorry for that and also to Aston Martin. But we’ll try to do our best in the race tomorrow.
“Again, I think whatever happened before, they’re always different situations. I think in this one, there’s no reason to complain. I don’t really know what to say more.”
After a review from the stewards, both drivers were cleared of any wrongdoing.
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