Speaking to the Russian press, Nikita Mazepin explained that after they terminated his contract at the start of the 2022 season due to the war in Ukraine, they left him with salary arrears that have still not been paid. Therefore, he has now filed a lawsuit against the team in a bid to receive the monies owed, calling the team's actions "criminal" after comparing it to the payoff made to the organisers of the Russian Grand Prix, which was also cancelled, by Formula 1 leadership. "When the contract was terminated, Haas had a salary arrears to me for 2022," the Russian driver said in an interview with RBC Sport . "And they still haven't paid it. "According to my information, Formula 1 paid money to Rosgonki for the cancelled Russian Grand Prix and, thereby, set an example of etiquette – there are business relations and you can't go wild, this is wrong. Unfortunately, not everyone is guided by this."
Mazepin: Contractual obligations were not fulfilled
Just weeks before the 2022 F1 season was due to get underway, Haas fired the Russian driver and cancelled the sponsorship deal with his father's company, Uralkali. Former driver Kevin Magnussen was instantly called upon to take Mazepin's place in the team where he remains today. "I'm just talking about the fact that contractual obligations were not fulfilled. You also need to understand that we had two independent contracts," Mazepin continued. "And breaking the agreement with the title sponsor (Uralkali - RBC) did not have a direct impact on my future in the team. So they made two separate decisions. I didn't see my money, so we’re going to court.”
Mazepin's exit from Haas
Mazepin was dismissed back in early March when Haas F1 announced his departure as a driver for the team at the same time as confirming that Russian title sponsor Uralkali was also dismissed. Uralkali is a potash fertiliser company, where Mazepin's father, Dmitry Mazepin, is the majority shareholder and current chairman. With severe economic sanctions placed upon Russian companies, Haas took the decision to sever all ties with both driver and sponsor. Mazepin was far from impressed with the decision at the time and took to social media to vent his frustration with the situation, releasing a statement in which he said that he had been willing to follow FIA procedures that would have allowed him to race.
Neutrality and Peace Commitment
This was a document requesting Russian athletes to sign that distanced themselves from showing any sort of support for Russia or the country's recent actions, called the 'Neutrality and Peace Commitment'. But at the time Mazepin claimed that he had not signed the document because he was dismissed by Haas less than 24 hours later. Speaking with a senior team source at Haas F1, they indicated to RacingNews365.com that Uralkali actually owes money for the completion of the contract, which was cancelled, as Haas F1 felt that the matter had brought the team into disrepute. Also, even if money was owed, they would be legally prevented from settling because the Mazepins have been sanctioned.