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Mazepin sets up foundation for excluded athletes

NEWS STORY
09/03/2022

Following his sacking by Haas, Nikita Mazepin is to set up a foundation to assist athletes excluded from sport due to political reasons.

As Uralkali, the potash company owned by his father, announced its intention to see the return of sponsorship money paid to the American F1 team, Mazepin was revealing his plan to set up a foundation for sportsman, like himself, who find themselves sidelined for political reasons.

"The decision from Haas was not based either on any directive from the sport's governing body authority, or dictated by any sanctions that were placed against either me or my father, or his company," said the youngster in a video conference this morning.

"Of course, I don't feel this is fair," he continued. "But there is something more important here, I ask the question, is there no place at all for neutrality in sports? Does an athlete have a right not to just an opinion, but to keep the opinion out of the public space? Should an athlete be punished for that? And do we want sport to become just another public square for protests and political debate?

"We all know cases where one country refuses to compete with another in the Olympics because of their political disagreements," he added. "We saw in the 1980s that a generation of athletes lost their dreams and the chance to compete at the highest level when countries started boycotting one another.

"Is this where we want the sports to be? Or are sports a way to bring people together, even at the toughest times, and especially at the toughest times.

"My experience in the last few days has greatly informed my thinking on these questions.

"We all know that the career of an athlete is a short one, and that it requires years of intense sacrifice to perform at the highest level," he said. "When that final reward is taken away, it is devastating. And no one is thinking what happens next to these athletes. I will be addressing this."

In it statement this morning, Uralkali said that the 'refund' from Haas and the remainder of Uralkali's sponsor financing for 2022 will be used for the We Compete As One athlete support foundation, the name not entirely dissimilar to F1's own We Race As One.

"The foundation will allocate resources, both financial and non-financial, to those athletes who have spent their lives preparing for Olympics, or Paralympics, or other top events, only to find that they were forbidden from competing and collectively punished just because of the passports they held," he said.

"The whole reason I made this foundation is because I value that people, all people, have the right to stay neutral, whether they are athletes or people from other industries, that doesn't matter.

"We will work to find jobs to provide worthy incomes, as many of these athletes have been counting on sponsorships following their championship performances, which did not happen.

"We will also provide legal aid in cases where athletes wish to argue their status in sport. We will help them psychologically to cope with the sense of loss and emptiness that comes with being excluded from the sport that they love."

The youngster then gave insight into his sacking by Haas, revealing that he learned of the move at the same time the team issued its official press release.

"I had been aiming and planning to compete as a neutral,” he said. "This was firstly allowed by the FIA, the decision that they took, and I without any issues was happy to agree to that decision.

"However the night before my contract was terminated there was an additional letter," he continued, referring to the FIA's move whereby Russian and Belarus drivers had to effectively denounce their countries actions. "By the time that we were processing that letter and looking at options, because there were a lot of clauses in it, I received the termination of my contract early the next morning.

"There was no time to even say 'yes' to it, I had just been fired. I learned about the firing the same time as it had been released to the press.

"There is no legal reason to terminate the contract," he insisted. "I had been relieved to see that the FIA allowed us to start in neutral colours, I was hoping to drive. So I wasn't ready for it. I didn't receive any hint, or any support to say: 'You know, this is the decision we've taken, it's going to go live in 15 minutes, just be ready for it'.

"I haven't spoken to Guenther since I left Barcelona on the third day of testing," he revealed. "Guenther gave me no information about what decision the team is going to take, aside from the information that he has been giving my manager up to March 4. Then the press release came, I read it and found out that my contract had been terminated.

"I deserved more support from the team,” he said. "If they contact me directly, I'll happily tell them what I think of what took place.

"I absolutely do not see F1 as a closed chapter for me," he added. "I am going to stay in a race condition. And I will be ready to take on an opportunity if it comes.

"At the moment, I'm only sighting F1 and no other categories," he insisted. "I do not plan to participate in different series and different championships. I will now focus all of my attention and time to work with this foundation that I have established."

He then revealed that he had received messages of support from a number of his colleagues.

"I highly appreciated the small number of drivers who expressed this to me, for instance, Sergio, Valtteri, Charles and George, they all contacted me," he said. "I would also like to add that I'm thankful for the support from them, because in the long journey towards F1, they've been, every one of them, risking losing their seats, and they actually support me in this time when I lost my dream, and I lost my drive.

I want to say, first of all, that I understand that the world is not what it was two weeks ago," he said. "And I get it. For me, along with all of you here, I'm sure that this has been an extremely painful time.

"Those who do not live in this part of the world, or were not born here, will see only a part of it. Those of us in Russia or Ukraine, see it on many more levels.

"As all of us, I have friends and relatives who have, by force of fate, found themselves on the both sides of this conflict. What we're discussing today is important in its own way, but nothing in comparison to what is going on in the larger picture.

"I want to say, that I understand that the world is not what it was two weeks ago. And I get it. For me, along with all of you here, I'm sure that this has been an extremely painful time.

"Those who do not live in this part of the world, or were not born here, will see only a part of it. Those of us in Russia or Ukraine, see it on many more levels.

"All of us, I have friends and relatives who have, by force of fate, found themselves on both sides of this conflict. What we're discussing today is important in its own way, but nothing in comparison to what is going on in the larger picture."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by ian_w, 10/03/2022 11:50

"I'd like to know if Mazepin 's foundation is prepared to help the families of Ukrainian soccer players Vitalii Sapylo, 21, Dmytro Martynenko, 25, and biathlete Yevhen Malyshev, 19, all killed as a result of the "special military operation".

Will it help with their families and loved ones to cope with the sense of loss and emptiness that comes with their deaths?

What about those athletes maimed as a result of indiscriminate shelling and targeting of civilians? Or those who's training facilities, homes and communities have been wiped off the map, along with most any hope of competing at an elite level?"

Rating: Positive (6)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Kristofforo, 10/03/2022 9:50

"Mazepin needs to get some perspective. I am glad his career has been affected, but I am sure he will struggle through financially; unlike the people of Ukraine. He needs to be quiet and get back in his box and learn some humility! "

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Max Noble, 10/03/2022 5:38

"Well the EU speaks…
====
Quoting from a BBC News item…
Nikita Mazepin said on Wednesday that he did not believe his sacking by the US-based team at the weekend was "fair", adding that he "didn't deserve it".

But the EU said he was "a natural person associated with a leading businessperson [his father] involved in economic sectors providing a substantial source of revenue to the government of the Russian Federation, which is responsible for the annexation of Crimea and the destabilisation of Ukraine".

Mazepin owed his seat to sponsorship funding from the Russian chemicals business Uralkali, which is part-owned by his father through his company Uralchem.
===

Before going on to say…
===
Mazepin Sr's presence at a meeting with Putin at the Kremlin on 24 February was cited as a specific example of his links to the war.

The EU statement said Mazepin, along with 36 other businesspeople, "met with President Vladimir Putin and other members of the Russian government to discuss the impact of the course of action in the wake of Western sanctions".

It added: "The fact that he was invited to attend this meeting shows that he is a member of the closest circle of Vladimir Putin and that he is supporting or implementing actions or policies which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, as well as stability and security in Ukraine."
===

In a country of approximately 144.1 Million people, being in a group of 37 means you are in the top 0.000025% of the [population… If that does not count as rule class/inner circle was does?

Dear DR. Mike was always the first to quote “Follow the money” as a way to workout the pathways of power, influence, and desire within F1… It is not complex to follow the money in this case…. Just a few feet to the left of that huge pile of broken moral compasses, but to the right of the immense golden bucket of self (financial) interest…
"

Rating: Positive (5)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by Max Noble, 09/03/2022 23:49

"From the Australian ABC news site today…

=====
The Red Cross has described the conditions in Mariupol as "apocalyptic".

Russia said it would hold fire to let civilians flee besieged cities, but efforts to evacuate Mariupol appeared to have failed again, as have several previous attempts since Saturday.

Mariupol Deputy Mayor Serhiy Orlov said more than 1,000 people have been killed in the town since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

"At least 1,170 people have been killed and 47 were buried in a mass grave today," Mr Orlov was quoted as saying.
====

Would Mazepin like to discuss how he will aid the 1,170 (at this single site alone) dead who have just been unfairly excluded from life?

…different planet does not come close…
"

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5. Posted by Max Noble, 09/03/2022 23:44

"Typo… @Bill, but you knew that… :-)"

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6. Posted by Max Noble, 09/03/2022 23:43

"@Bull Hopgood, and @Defiant: As others have noted this is not a simple contract disagreement. The Jews where “only” gassed because of a gene they held. 1.5Million Ukraine citizens (and counting) are only running away under intense shelling because of the passport they held… to then get upset that you are held accountable for the actions of your nation… As I noted in a previous response about Rudolf Nureyev, if you feel that strongly and your passport is an issue… clearly and strongly make a stance by changing country. The reason Mazepin Senior does not change country is he makes way too much money where he is to give it up…

I’ve never seen so much underserved out of context, tin-eared, out-of-touch whining in the face of a minor hang nail, compared to an *entire nation* being plunged into utter war.

As others have noted as Mazepin Jr. is yet to complete his military service… let’s drop him a few feet from the cluster bombs, mine fields, and field artillery (thermobaric pie anyone…?), amoung the seriously injured children for effect, and see how long he maintains his “This is just a simple disagreement” stance under full fire…

Contract law, and full-on main battle tank ground-invasion waging war on a civilian population are simply two concepts that should never meet in the same sentence in a sane World… oh, wait a minute…"

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7. Posted by Superbird70, 09/03/2022 22:40

"This is straight out of a Seinfeld episode. "The Human Fund, Money for People"."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

8. Posted by Spindoctor, 09/03/2022 20:08

"Spoilt kid can’t play any more cos daddy’s too close to Putin. Shame…."

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

9. Posted by Editor, 09/03/2022 18:30

"Am I alone in wondering why, in the midst of all this, quite understandable, ant-Russian feeling in F1, nobody has mentioned the Motorsport Network.

In recent years it has become increasingly powerful, having bought the likes of Autosport and Sutton Images, to name just two. It also owns almost every professional motorsport image ever taken.

Other than owning a stake in Formula E, it has an agreement to supply the official stats database to the FIA and has numerous links to FOM, not least the fact that it runs the official F1 fan survey. Indeed most items available for sale on the official F1 website are provided through companies owned by the Motorsport Network.

The Motorsport Network is owned by Miami-based Russian billionaire, Mike Zoi."

Rating: Positive (12)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

10. Posted by meatball, 09/03/2022 18:17

"This isn't "political disagreement" this is an unprovoked attack on a sovereign country by a dictator. The only reason this guy is behind the wheel of an F1 car is because his dad is mobster in a suit. How Oligarchs started and grew their wealth is precisely why a country with 150MM people in it has one of the lowest per-capita GDP's in the developed world. This select few raped Russia for all it's worth and when they run out, they bully neighbouring countries. They took over Crimea for its natural gas - to prevent Ukraine from supplying Europe. they want Ukraine for all it's mineral deposits i.e. Coal and Uranium... plain and simple, there is nothing noble about what Russia is doing here. And certainly nothing noble about what this rich half-wit is doing. I need a beer."

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11. Posted by meatball, 09/03/2022 18:06

"is it me or does this just look like he's still crying into his expensive vodka while setting up a tax shelter?"

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12. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 09/03/2022 18:03

"I think Nikita Mazepin has a point in the way this has all played out, in particular the lack of his ability to discuss the matter with his then team and the idea of F1 in that Russian drivers could still compete.

Complicating all this is Mazepin Snr and his relationship with Putin.

Is it a genuine friendship or is it out of necessity of say "protection" or "advancement" in the way that many Chinese companies have relationships with the CCP?

@Defiant is right.

Nikkita Mazepin is being excluded due to his nationality and father's relationship with Putin rather than any breach of F1's rules or his former team's criteria of say driver performance or conduct.

If Haas have a rule in the contract with either sponsor or driver that says: "we can fire you if your home country invades another..." then the Mazepin's have no grounds for complaint.

I wonder if all of a sudden Haas release Mazepin also say, "Oh yeah, he (Nikkita) wasn't performing to a high enough driving standard..."?

In regard to the manner of contract termination, some of these F1 teams do need to up their game. It reminds me of when Eddie Jordan thought he had M Schumacher as a driver, or that Thursday morning in Monaco when Brendan Hartley found out via a press conference question that his seat was under threat despite having another year on his contract."

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13. Posted by Defiant, 09/03/2022 15:38

"@Roli... Right... That was a backlash he deserved, or that he was like a pinball crashing into all sorts. A daddy's boy that was only there due to vast amount of payoffs and sponsorship, these are all things he deserved to be hassled over.
His passport however...

This situation puts me in a place I'd never ever ever imagined being. In agreement with Little Nikki.

I hope haas have to pay back the sponsorship money on principal and that Little Nikki does actually use it for charity cause daddy certainly doesn't need it."

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14. Posted by Wokingchap, 09/03/2022 14:56

"It looks like F1 is going to feel the wrath of the russians."

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15. Posted by Hobgoblin, 09/03/2022 13:11

"strikes me that the two statements (the foundation's aims and his response to loss of contract) were written by different people. "

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