Is Nico Hulkenberg the replacement for Nikita Mazepin at Haas?


Haas is looking for a replacement for Nikita Mazepin who has been removed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – could Nico Hulkenberg be the man to replace the Russian?

Nico Hulkenberg has emerged as one of the top names likely to replace Nikita Mazepin at Haas F1 team. Mazepin, the only Russian driver in F1 was sacked by Haas as a reactionary measure to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Ever since Mazpin’s contract termination speculations have been doing the rounds two names have emerged as favourites – Pietro Fittipaldi and Antonio Giovinazzi. Fittipaldi has been with the Haas team before and was the favourite for the seat as confirmed by Haas team principal, Guenther Steiner.

Hulkenberg has emerged as the new favourite to take the seat out of nowhere. In a recent statement, Steiner said that Fittipaldi will be behind the wheel at the Bahrain testing but the team is searching for a driver with ‘more experience’.

The German is one of the most experienced options available out there. He made his F1 debut in 2010 and has driven for teams like Force India, Renault, Sauber and Williams. Hulkenberg last drove in F1 in 2020 for Racing Point.

Nikita Mazepin hits out at Haas

Mazepin’s father Russian oligarch Dmitry Mazepin is the owner of Haas’s chief sponsor Uralkali. However, that wasn’t of much help to him since the Ukraine crisis. The US-based team dropped the Uralkali branding from their cars followed by the sacking of Mazepin. The young Russian is shocked by the move and claims he wasn’t given any hints about the removal.

The FIA had announced that Russian drivers could still continue to participate as neutral athletes. However, motorsport UK announced they wouldn’t recognise Russian driving license which effectively banned Mazepin from participating in the British Grand Prix. Shortly after, Haas terminated his contract.

Nikita Mazepin F1
Nikita Mazepin (Credits: F1)

In his statement to the media, Mazepin said, “I heard about my Haas sacking like everyone else, from the press. I didn’t deserve it. I am very disappointed how it played out. I hadn’t been worried since I left Barcelona.” The Russian added, “I was planning to start as a neutral athlete. The FIA allowed it. I deserved more support of the team. I was relieved to see that the FIA allowed us to start in neutral colours. I was hoping to drive. Then everything changed and I lost the dream I had been working for 18 years.”

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