Remember Nikita Mazepin? The Russian was a Formula 1 driver who competed in the sport for one season and made a name for himself by constantly not finishing, or at least finishing near the back of the pack. He was then fired at the start of the 2022 season after the Haas F1 Team cut ties with Russian title sponsor Uralkali, which was his dad’s firm. Now, the disgraced racer say he suing the team for wages he lost out on as a result of his sacking.
Mazepin’s tenure in F1 wasn’t a proud moment for the sport. He entered top tier motorsport fresh from allegations of assaulting a woman, which he said he would be able to overcome by doing his “talking on the track.”
As a result, he consistently finished at the bottom of the pack and even managed to end his first season 21st in a series with 20 full-time drivers.
But it wasn’t his shocking behavior and poor performances that led to his departure from the sport. Instead, the Haas F1 team found a few morals lying around the paddock and severed ties with title sponsor Uralkali following Russia’s occupation of Ukraine.
The fertilizer firm, which is owned by Mazepin’s oligarch father, quickly had all traces of its involvement in the sport removed from Haas’ cars, trucks and teamwear.
Following the departure of Uralkali, Mazepin’s position at the team became untenable, as it was directly linked to the funding he brought in. So, he was replaced by veteran racer Kevin Magnussen, who has gone on to have a pretty good season.
Now, Mazepin says he is suing the Haas F1 Team to try and claim back some of the wages he thinks that he is owed. As per The Race:
“In an interview with Russian media outlet RBC, Mazepin said his legal action would be between him and Haas only and was independent of the team’s former title sponsor Uralkali.
“He described the legal case against Haas as his ‘personal matter’ and stressed any trial would take place specifically between him and the team, after reports earlier this year that Uralkali was seeking reimbursement of the sponsorship funds it had paid Haas in advance of the 2022 season.”
Mazepin claims that at the time that his contract to race in F1 was terminated, the team had “salary arrears to me for 2022” that the team has not yet paid.
In the interview with Russian media, Mazepin said:
“I’m only talking about the fact that contractual obligations were not fulfilled.
“You also need to understand that we had two independent contracts. And breaking the agreement with the title sponsor [Uralkali] did not have a direct impact on my future in the team.
“So they [Haas] made two separate decisions. I didn’t see my money, so we’re going to court.”
Jalopnik has reached out to the Haas F1 Team for comment on the matter.