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Russian driver Nikita Mazepin, ousted last week from the Haas Formula 1 team after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, announced on Wednesday the creation of a foundation to support athletes losing their jobs “for political reasons”.
Whereas Russia, banned from world sport Formula 1 driver Nikita Mazepin announced Wednesday, March 9, the creation of a foundation to support Russian athletes who lose their jobs.
This foundation “will be dedicated to helping athletes who, for political reasons beyond their control, lose their ability to compete at the highest level”, explained the 23-year-old pilot himself. ousted last week from the Formula team 1 haasduring a virtual press conference.
“It will be funded by Uralkali, using the money that was earmarked for the Formula 1 partnership this season,” he continued. Title sponsor of Haas since 2021, the Russian group Uralkali saw its contract terminated “with immediate effect” by the American team last Saturday, at the same time as Nikita Mazepin’s contract.
The Russian pilot is the son of billionaire and oligarch Dmitry Mazepin, shareholder of the Uralkali group, which specializes in the production of potash.
In reaction to the Russian offensive in Ukraine, many international sports federations have decided to ban Russian athletes and to cancel the sporting events planned in Russia, in the wake of the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Nikita Mazepin slams Haas’ “unfair” decision to oust him
“The foundation will allocate financial and non-financial resources to those athletes who have spent their lives preparing for the Olympics or Paralympics, or other high profile events, only to find that they are ultimately banned from competition and collectively sanctioned. simply because of the passport they hold”, continued Nikita Mazepin.
Baptized “We Compete As One”, the name of the foundation recalls that of the F1 initiative in favor of diversity “We Race As One”.
The foundation will help “athletes from all conflict zones” and “start with the Russian Paralympic team, which was banned from the Beijing Games”, he said.
Haas’ “unfair” decision to part ways with him “was not based on a directive from the sport’s governing body or dictated by any sanctions against me, my father or his company”, he noted. , while the International Automobile Federation (FIA) has decided to allow Russian or Belarusian drivers to participate under a neutral flag.
“I was ready to run under a neutral banner,” he assured, questioned about this feasibility, given the links between his father and Vladimir Putin.
For its part, denouncing in a press release an “unreasonable” decision, Uralkali “intends to protect its interests in accordance with the applicable legal procedures and reserves the right to initiate legal proceedings and to claim damages”.
“As most of the sponsorship funding for the 2022 season has already been transferred to Haas […]Uralkali will demand the immediate reimbursement of the sums collected by Haas”.