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Nikita Mazepin confirms return to motorsport
By Iwan Jones
Sunday 29th January, 2023 - 8:00am
Russian Ex-Formula 1 driver Nikita Mazepin will return to competitive motorsport in 2023.
Mazepin will compete in the Asian Le Mans Series, co-driving the #98 Oreca 07 with British driver Ben Barnicoat and Spaniard Felix Porteiro for 99 Racing.
Mazepin is set to compete under the neutral flag, as is currently required for Russian and Belarusian nationals competing in international sporting competitions.
“I am delighted to be making my return to racing in the Asian Le Mans Series,” Mazepin said.
“Together with my teammates at 99 Racing, I’m hoping to have a great experience competing in the sport I love.”
It’s the first race seat for Mazepin since 2021, after he was ousted by the Haas F1 team following the Russian invasion of Ukraine during pre-season testing last year.
The American-registered team also cut ties with title sponsor Uralkali, which counts Mazepin’s father Dmitry as a majority shareholder and chairman.
Mazepin and his father, who has ties to Vladimir Putin, were added to the list of Russians subject to European sanctions in the wake of the conflict.
Following his dismissal from Haas, Mazepin announced that he had commenced legal proceedings against his former team over unpaid wages.
The 23-year-old also formed the ‘We Compete as One,’ foundation to support athletes that have been allegedly excluded from competing in sports for political reasons.
Mazepin will go up against several Australians in the Asian Le Mans Series, with Garnet Patterson and Yasser Shahin set to drive for United Autosports, while James Allen will compete for Algarve Pro Racing.
The two-event 2023 Asian Le Mans Series will commence at the Dubai Autodrome on February 11, before concluding at the Yas Marina Circuit on February 19.
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