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Ex-F1 driver Mazepin begins testing in Europe as EU sanctions lift

Former Formula 1 driver Nikita Mazepin has completed a GT3 test in Hungary after the sanctions imposed against him by the European Union were lifted at the start of the year.

In a ruling by the European Union’s General Court on 20 March, Mazepin was removed from the list of individuals who had been sanctioned in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The EU had reasoned that there were no obvious links between the 25-year-old and his father Dmitry, who was also put on the sanction list, beyond their obvious family ties. Hence, it concluded that there was no reason for him to remain subject to any restrictive measures.

After the Council of the EU decided not to appeal the decision of the court, the judgement to annul the sanctions took full effect on 30 May, allowing Mazepin to return to the EU for the first time in years.

The Russian driver took advantage of the decision to travel to the new Balton Park Circuit in Hungary to test an LMGT3 car, believed to be a Ferrari 296 GT3, as he continues to look for more opportunities in racing.

“I am happy the EU has acknowledged that athletes like myself who have no relation to politics should not be placed under sanctions,” he said of the decision.

“It is my hope that all athletes who are currently prevented from participating in international competitions due to geopolitics will be returned to their rightful place in the sporting community.”

Nikita Mazepin, Ferrari 296 GT3 at Balton Park, Hungary

Photo by: Nikita Mazepin

Mazepin lost his F1 drive after a single season with Haas in 2021 after the American team terminated their contract in the wake of Russia attacking neighbour Ukraine in early 2022.

It also ended its sponsorship agreement with Uralkali, a Russian fertiliser company run by Mazepin’s father Dmitry.

Haas and Uralkali subsequently went to court, with the latter demanding a refund of $13 million after claiming that its contract had been breached.

It was only last month that a Swiss arbitration court issued a ruling for this long-running case, with Haas allowed to keep a portion of the sponsorship fee that covered their agreement until it was terminated on 4 March, 2022 – and required to refund the remaining amount. understands that Haas has to return a sum of around $9 million out of the $13 million that Uralkali had paid in advance for the second year of their contract in 2022. In addition, the outfit has to pay Nikita Mazepin his full salary for the same season, plus legal costs.

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