News   |    March 17th, 2022

CHEQUERED FLAG FOR MAZEPIN

In light of the Russian attack upon Ukraine, multiple businessmen and sportspeople have been sanctioned across the EU, forbidding them to conduct their business or compete within sports. Notably, Roman Abramovich who has been almost forced to sell his beloved Chelsea FC. The ultimate purpose is to destabilise Russia’s economy, through removing the key resources that contribute towards it, thus imposing as many challenges to the Russian government as possible.

The latest to fall victim to these sanctions is Nikita Mazepin. Alongside his father, Dmitry, a chemical billionaire, the former Haas Formula 1 driver has lost his seat in the largest racing competition in the world. Interestingly, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), addressed Mazepin stating that so long as he competes as a neutral then he would be allowed to compete. In response Mazepin declared he would compete as a neutral yet wouldn’t comment on whether he approved or disapproved of the invasion upon Ukraine.  He also did not answer questions about whether he would have signed a document the FIA requires of all Russian and Belarussian drivers that commits them to comply with decisions made by the FIA on 1 March, when the organisation announced it “condemned” the invasion.

The EU statement said Dmitry Mazepin, along with 36 other businesspeople, “met with President Vladimir Putin and other members of the Russian government to discuss the impact of the course of action in the wake of Western sanctions”. It added: “The fact that he was invited to attend this meeting shows that he is a member of the closest circle of Vladimir Putin and that he is supporting or implementing actions or policies which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, as well as stability and security in Ukraine.”

From this we can deduce that it is evident Nikita is experiencing the repercussions from his father’s business dealings. Subsequently, Nikita Mazepin claimed at a news conference that there was “no legal reason that could enable the team to terminate my contract”. Recently, Nikita put out a statement on social media highlighting his wrongful dismission, however supporting the current drivers and wishing them luck. He also expressed his ambition to setup a foundation supporting athletes who have lost their contracts and jobs due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions imposed by the EU. Overall, this may have legal repercussions in the future, and no one likes to see people losing livelihoods but we should never forget the people who are actually losing everything during this dreadful war.

Image – Haas F1 Team / LAT

Alfie Bobbins - Integral Sports Management.

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