Antonio Giovinazzi could potentially replace Nikita Mazepin in Haas F1 team

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Mazepin’s F1 seat is in doubt following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Antonio Giovinazzi could make a return to F1 replacing Russia’s Nikita Mazepin. Giovinazzi has raced in F1 previously for Alfa Romeo F1 team from 2019-2021. The Italian is the favourite to take Mazepin’s seat at Haas if the Russian is banned from racing by FIA. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has changed things dramatically for Mazepin.

His F1 seat was never in doubt especially when his father Dmitry Mazepin is a co-owner of Uralkali, the primary sponsor of the team. However, with just three weeks to go for the season opener in Bahrain, Mazepin’s participation is in serious doubt.

Antonio Giovinazzi hands behind ears planetF1
Image Credits: PlanetF1.com

Giovinazzi finished in 18th spot earning 3 points in the 2021 F1 Drivers’ Championship. The Italian made his debut in F1 at the 2017 Australian Grand Prix. He last raced at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The 28-year old is currently racing in Formula E with Dragon/Penske Autosport but has an exit clause in his contract that allows him to return to Formula 1 if a seat becomes available. Giovinazzi has completed a total of 62 races in his F1 career scoring 21 points.

Things not looking too bright for Nikita Mazepin

The Haas driver’s future in the sport will be decided in an emergency FIA meeting. The Haas F1 team had earlier removed all branding stickers of their Russian sponsor, Uralkali from their cars. Haas cars were seen racing in their official white livery without the stickers in their last testing session in Barcelona. FIA have called an emergency meeting and Nikita Mazepin’s future in the sport will be a top agenda.

Speaking on the issue, Haas team boss Guenther Steiner has admitted that there will be discussions regarding Mazepin’s future in the team. “Governments are involved and I have no power over them and we need to see how the situation develops in Ukraine”, said Steiner. He further added, “Should Mazepin not drive for one or the other reason, the first call would go to Pietro. He knows the team. He knows the car. There is nobody better than Pietro at the moment.”

This statement from the Haas boss has raised speculations over who is the first choice – Antonio Giovinazzi or Pietro Fittipaldi. There are multiple reports which have project Giovinazzi as the first choice, contradicting Steiner’s statements. As things stand, Haas need to decide the future of Mazepin before they can dive deep into the matter of choosing his replacement.

Nikita Mazepin F1
Nikita Mazepin (Credits: F1)

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