NOVEMBER 16, 2023
Mazepin to return to action on F1 circuits
Nikita Mazepin is pressing the throttle on his intention to return to Formula 1 as soon as possible - but still faces headwinds in the form of anti-Russian sanctions against him and his backer Uralkali.
Now approaching two years since the outbreak of the Ukraine-Russian conflict and his expulsion from F1 and the European continent, the axed Haas racer is finally making his return to a top circuit-racing series.
In terms of my immediate plans, I will compete in the Asian Le Mans Series for the second time, the 24-year-old Russian told Tass news agency and other reporters at a sports industry forum.
This year the racing has become more interesting there, Mazepin, who will race an LMP2-class car for 99 Racing, added.
It's happening not only in Dubai and Abu Dhabi but also in Malaysia.
He admitted, however, that since being expelled from F1, he has been unable to keep his racing skills on F1-like asphalt circuits finely tuned.
I haven't sat in a car on an asphalt track for a long time, Mazepin said.
I hope I haven't lost my experience.
The series kicks off at Sepang, the former Malaysian GP venue, next month - but beyond the forthcoming series, Mazepin admits his racing calendar is sparse.
Unfortunately, international starts of the level and format that I would like are impossible this year, he said, referring to his efforts to overturn the political roadblocks that prevent him from freely travelling in Europe.
"We won the case in the EU court, so theoretically I have the opportunity to come to Europe and perform. But in reality, there's no possibility as I can't get the Schengen (visa).
But I'm working on it.