Haas has decided to sack its Russian driver Nikita Mazepin in favor of their reserve option Pietro Fittipaldi.
There was growing certainty that Mazepin will lose his seat on the team after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and all the sanctions that were imposed upon Russian and Belarusian athletes around the world that followed.
FIA’s decision to allow them to compete under a neutral flag received backlash from around the world.
F1 had earlier canceled September’s scheduled race at the Sochi Autodrom from the 2022 calendar. On Thursday, it was confirmed that the contract with the Russian Grand Prix had been entirely canceled, meaning Russia will have no place on the schedule in the future.
Mazepin’s sacking is another rung of a bigger ladder of change. Haas have lost a lucrative sponsorship deal with Uralkali, a company headed up by Mazepin’s father.
The 22-year-old partnered Mick Schumacher last year but often drew criticism for falling way off the pace of his talented teammate.
Fittipaldi is the grandson of two-time F1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, who retired in 1980.
Pietro was lined up to continue as Haas’ official test and reserve driver in 2022 but now looks as though he will receive a promotion to the starting grid.
The 25-year-old Brazilian-American is a double Indy 500 winner and replaced Romain Grosjean for two races in 2020 following his crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix.