Fittipaldi most likely to replace Mazepin

27/02/2022
NEWS STORY

Haas team boss, Guenther Steiner has admitted that Pietro Fittipaldi is the most likely replacement should the team need to drop Nikita Mazepin.

The Russian's future with Haas, indeed F1, is under threat as a direct result of this week's invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

As part of global backlash against the invasion, which has seen governments worldwide issue sanctions against Russia, all manner of business deals involving Russian money are under scrutiny, no less so than potash giant Uralkali, which is owned by Mazepin's father.

For the final day of testing in Spain all Uralkali branding was removed from the Haas cars and the team admitted that it is to decide the future of its partnership with the company in the coming days.

If Uralkali goes it is unthinkable that Nikita Mazepin - who is already unpopular with a large group of fans - could continue with the team, or indeed in F1.

Speaking to Speed City Broadcasting, Guenther Steiner has admitted that Pietro Fittipaldi, who replaced Romain Grosjean in the final two races of 2020, could step into the second Haas.

"If Nikita couldn't drive for one or another reason, the first call would go to Pietro," said Steiner. "Obviously, he has been with us for a few years, and then we would see what we do next.

"Pietro is always around with us for a reason," he added. "The last years, we needed a reserve driver, having COVID around, so he is always around.

"He knows the team, he knows the car to jump in for one day to the other. There is nobody better than Pietro around at the moment."

That last comment may raise eyebrows, especially as Michael Andretti (and Liberty Media) is keen to bring an American into F1 - and Haas is an American team.

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Published: 27/02/2022
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