It is speculated that Nikita Mazepin, one of Haas F1 team’s 2021 rookies, may not be able to race under the Russian flag following the recent controversy involving the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RADA) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). As per WADA’s investigations, it was found that the Russian agency was guilty of presenting false data.
Written by Tanishka Vashee, Edited by Umut Yelbaşı
In an attempt to shut down the scheme, the Court of Arbitration for Sports ruled against RADA. The use of any national identity elements of Russia have been banned from the Olympics and other major international sporting events. The effects of this verdict have trickled into motorsport and have been witnessed recently when rally driver Nikolay Gryazin competed as a “neutral athlete” at the Monte Carlo Rally.
Alexey Popov, Russian journalist and Formula 1 commentator, believes that Mazepin could be in the same situation. He stated that the fix for this could be racing under the Russian Automobile Federation (RAF). The RAF competes under the national federation for the respective sport for different sporting events.
Popov added that the matter of the anthem and flag can be addressed later, and one would have to be a strong optimist to imagine Mazepin winning with Haas in his first year. He further said the flag is all over the circuit, the garage and the overalls. He admits that it wouldn’t be congenial to be deprived of those elements.
There have been theories that Formula 1 will have to rename the Russian GP either to Krasnodar GP or Sochi GP. Speaking about the race, Popov reiterated that the naming is a commercial matter and the contract was signed way before this story broke out, so the name legally cannot be changed.
The RADA chose not to appeal against the verdict, so the two year ban of national identity elements can affect Mazepin in the future.