F1 news LIVE: Nikita Mazepin ‘set to be sacked’ by Haas as Toto Wolff attacks Red Bull

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Formula One will not be returning to Sochi after terminating their contract for the Russian Grand Prix and stating “Russia will not have a race in the future”, while F1’s only driver from that country, Nikita Mazepin, has been barred from the British Grand Prix this year. He has been allowed to remain involved with Haas by the FIA, but he will compete under a neutral flag.

Big news on Thursday came with reigning champion Max Verstappen signing a new contract with Red Bull, keeping him with the team until 2028. He still had two years to run on his existing deal, but the new paycheck bumps him up to around £40m a year – Roughly on par with Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes. Team principal Christian Horner hailed the agreement as a “statement of intent” ahead of the 2022 season, which starts in Bahrain later this month.

Aiming to retain the drivers’ championship this year will be Hamilton and his new team-mate George Russell, with Mercedes chief Toto Wolff making clear he blames the FIA ​​for the failings of former race director Michael Masi last season. Follow all the latest news and reaction below.


Haas to confirm they have ‘separated’ from Nikita Mazepin

Nikita Mazepin is, by the FIA’s official ruling, allowed to compete in Formula One this year – albeit under a neutral flag and with his father’s company, Uralkali, having been removed from the team’s livery branding.

The relationship between driver, sponsor and F1 team has been an uneasy one and events in Ukraine seem to have led to a total parting of the ways, with Sky Germany reporting that Haas have “separated” from Mazepin and reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi will take over for testing in Bahrain.

He would then be Mick Schumacher’s new team-mate for the season if no further changes are made for the long term, with the Brazilian-American having raced twice at the end of the 2020 season.

Mazepin failed to land any points last season, in what was his debut campaign in F1.

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Karl Matchett4 March 2022 10:20


Red Bull delighted to tie down ‘best driver on the grid’ Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen has been hailed as the best driver in Formula One following the announcement of his extraordinary £200million deal with Red Bull.

The five-year contract extension, which could earn Verstappen as much as £40million-a-season, is arguably the most lucrative in F1 history, and will see the world champion remain at Red Bull until the end of 2028.

Verstappen’s current contract, worth around £20m-a-year, was due to expire at the end of next season. But the Dutchman, 24, has been rewarded for beating seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton to the title.

Verstappen’s salary hike matches the 37-year-old Hamilton’s £80m two-year Mercedes deal.

“To have Max signed with Red Bull through to the end of 2028 is a real statement of intent,” said team principal Christian Horner.

“Max was the outstanding driver of last year. He was the world champion and mentally it takes that pressure off. He has that first tick in the box, but I don’t think anything will change in the way he goes racing.

“He will give 110 per cent, and with new engine regulations for 2026 we wanted to make sure we had the best driver on the grid secured for that car.”

Karl Matchett4 March 2022 09:53


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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