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Haas F1 Team

Which drivers could replace Mazepin at Haas?

Haas have a vacant seat at their team, following their release of Nikita Mazepen from his contract. Which drivers might Guenther Steiner be calling to slot into the second Haas for the 2022 season?

Pietro Fittipaldi
Article
To news overview © Haas F1

With the Formula 1 season just a few short weeks away, Haas are in the unusual position of having a blank piece of paper to hire a new driver for their second car.

Russian driver Nikita Mazepin, together with personal and team title sponsor Uralkali, have been released from their contracts due to the impact of economic sanctions placed on Russian businesses and companies in the wake of Russia beginning military action in Ukraine.

A furious Mazepin has lashed out at the decision taken by Haas to release him from their team, while team boss Guenther Steiner has already clarified that the team won't suffer competitively as a result of the financial loss from Uralkali's dismissal.

Haas now have a plethora of drivers to choose from to replace Mazepin - who are the likely options?

Pietro Fittipaldi

The front-runner to land Mazepin's seat, at least to cover the Bahrain test and early races, is Pietro Fittipaldi. The Brazilian-American has stood in as a reserve for Haas on two previous occasions, and has carried out plenty of testing for the team in recent years.

Fittipaldi is the grandson of multiple F1 World Champion Emerson, and the 25-year-old is currently Haas' official test and reserve driver.

Steiner has already said that Fittipaldi will get the first call if and when Haas require a driver, although this doesn't necessarily mean he'll be given the seat for the entire season.

Antonio Giovinazzi

Just when it seemed his time in F1 was over, Antonio Giovinazzi could well be coming back. If Haas want experience, the Italian would provide them with it.

The 28-year-old, always rated highly by Ferrari, has been in and around the F1 paddock since 2017 and started 62 races for Sauber/Alfa Romeo.

Last season proved one of his most consistent campaigns in Formula 1, twice finishing in the points but coming so close to breaking into the top 10 on multiple other occasions.

Giovinazzi's links to Ferrari, for whom he remains an official part of as a test/reserve driver, could prove critical to this arrangement occurring, given the close ties between Haas and Ferrari.

Robert Kubica

The only driver on the planet to have driven one of Formula 1's 2022 cars but not have a seat for the new season, Robert Kubica could be an option for Haas if they are keen to draft in a driver with an understanding of the new machines.

He drove for Alfa Romeo on day one of pre-season testing in Barcelona, although his time on the track was cut short due to technical problems.

Kubica could well bring with him big Polish sponsors to replace those likely to depart with Mazepin, although Polish oil refiner and petrol retailer Orlen already have their logo plastered all over the new Alfa Romeo for 2022.

			© Alfa Romeo
	© Alfa Romeo

Oscar Piastri

He may be a part of the young driver programme at Alpine, but Oscar Piastri could prove an interesting option for Haas.

It would offer them a fine young driver, a champion in Formula 2, while for Alpine it would get their rising young star some real F1 experience.

The Australian racer cannot stop winning at the moment. He counts championship wins in Formula Renault, Formula 3 and Formula 2 over the past three seasons and is now eyeing the biggest prizes in motorsport.

Nico Hulkenberg

He may hold an association with Aston Martin, but Nico Hulkenberg is fast becoming the man to turn to when you need a driver you can trust.

Perhaps the finest F1 driver never to stand on the podium, the 34-year-old remains without a drive for the third season in a row in 2022.

When called upon twice to stand in for Racing Point during 2020, Hulkenberg impressed when he qualified third and finished seventh before turning last on the grid into eighth.

Who else could Haas turn to?

Israel-born Robert Shwartzman, a Ferrari junior, is one youngster who is not far from getting his chance in Formula 1. After claiming the Formula 3 title, he went on to finish fourth and second during his first two years in Formula 2, winning six races along the way.

However, he currently races under the Russian flag, meaning he too could be banned from competing this season. It is not clear at this stage whether or not he would be able to switch allegiance to Israel.

Haas also know WEC racer Louis Deletraz well, once a regular in the F1 paddock. He was the team's test and development driver from 2018 to 2020 and has since established himself as a competent endurance driver.

But the Swiss driver left Haas on poor terms and may not be welcomed back with open arms.

Arthur Leclerc could be another left-field option. He may not be as well known as his big brother Charles, but Arthur has the backing of Ferrari behind him on his push to reach Formula 1.

The younger Leclerc is set to spend the upcoming season racing in Formula 3 but has already started 2022 in fine form, winning the Formula Regional Asia series. He would, however, have to overcome Super Licence hurdles in order to be eligible.

Haas could also look across the pond for fresh talent, although if they are hoping to prise any drivers away from IndyCar, Mazepin's potential ban may come too late. The new season began last weekend in Florida, meaning the likes of Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi and Josef Newgarden could be in too deep.

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: All you need to know after the first pre-season test

At the end of the first pre-season test of 2022 in Barcelona, Dieter Rencken and Thomas Maher discuss the on- and off-track developments so far.

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