Nikita Mazepin wins on race return as Russian star eyes full-time return | F1 | sport

Former F1 driver Nikita Mazepin triumphed in his return to motorsport after his controversial departure from Haas, and now the Russian is eyeing a Dakar Rally entry.

The 23-year-old said he found out he was let go by Team USA in a press release. His father Dmitry Mazepin is an oligarch close to Russian President Vladimir Putin as he even attended a one-on-one meeting with the leader on the same day the 69-year-old launched the military attack on Israel. Ukraine.

Dmitry is the owner and chairman of the Russian fertilizer company Uralchem, whose Uralkali brand has been the central sponsor of the American company Haas from 2021 until recently. Once the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, Haas withdrew its Uralkali brand – and cast doubt on the Mazepin pilot’s future.

Mazepin was then replaced by fan favorite Kevin Magnussen – who has been impressing since returning to the sport – and the Russian’s future was in doubt. However, he is now firmly back in the window to compete in motorsport.

In his first action since Haas terminated his contract on the eve of the 2022 F1 season, Mazepin won the T3 class at the Silk Way Rally. He participated in a 10-day rally raid event in an SSV vehicle, which is one of the classes included in the Dakar Rally field.

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During that conversation, Mazepin said Alonso told him he would like to try again. When asked if he had spoken to Alonso before participating in the Silk Way Rally, the Russian added: “I think Fernando’s performance has allowed me to familiarize myself more with the Dakar.

“It was interesting for me to see how a man who competes on asphalt would compete off-road. During a parade of F1 drivers, I asked him if he liked rally raids. And Fernando replied that he would like to go back.

“In June, I participated in the Ladoga Trophy in quad and now I compete in mountain biking (all-terrain vehicle). I like it, it’s what I would like to do when I’m not in F1, if I have a contract with a team or any other type of work.

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