Fired Russian Formula One driver Nikita Mazepin has ruled out the possibility of driving under a neutral flag to boost hopes of an F1 return.
Haas fired Mazepin back in March and also dropped sponsors Uralkali, a Russian fertilizer company partially owned by Mazepin’s oligarch father Dmitry, 53, an associate of Vladimir Putin.
The FIA announced that Russian drivers can only enter the competition if they distance themselves from their nation and drive under a neutral flag.
Mazepin has seen his peers, like junior Ferrari driver Robert Shwartzman and Dakar Rally driver Konstantin Zhiltsov, adopt a different flag to further their racing careers, something he is not ready to do.
“You can’t judge people. We are athletes and everyone has their own decisions that must be respected,” he told rsport.ria.ru.
‘Zhiltsov is not the only one [Russian turned Israeli driver] Robert Shwartzman did the same. It’s a matter of personal considerations.
“Whether you want to give up your country for sport and it’s more important to you or not – everyone decides for themselves, but I won’t do it.”
Back in April, Mazepin described “abandonment culture” as the season behind his firing.
Speaking of BBCMazepin said it was wrong to sanction Russian athletes.
“I don’t agree to being in the sanctions,” he said. “I said before agreeing to fight it.
“Maybe now is not the right time. If you look at the whole situation that’s going on against athletes in general, this is an abort culture against my country.
Mazepin was dropped from Haas and replaced by Kevin Magnussen nine days after Russia invaded Ukraine.
The Russian Grand Prix, to be held in Sochi, has also been scrapped from the calendar as a result of the war against Ukraine and it’s a decision that leaves Mazepin with “great sadness”.
“I reacted to this with great sadness,” he added. “I remember these fantastic feelings when I performed on this stage in Russia.
“This is one of the best Grand Prix. Too bad drivers and spectators won’t be able to experience it again in the near future.
“But the situation can change very quickly in both a negative and a positive direction. I hope for the best.’
Mazepin is currently working on a lawsuit against Haas over his firing, with hearings set to take place in Switzerland in the coming months.
Haas is also at odds over the future of Mick Schumacher, son of legendary F1 driver Michael, after Sportsmail revealed the American team is ready to sack the German.
sports mail Hass boss Gunther Steiner has already ruled that Schumacher, the 23-year-old son of legendary seven-time world champion Michael, is redundant.
The German’s contract expires in December and talks about an extension have remained fruitless.