According to prominent Russian sports lawyer Anna Antseliovich, Nikita Mazepin may not be entirely free to negotiate his return to Formula 1.
Mazepin and his father’s company Uralkali were ousted from Haas and Formula 1 at the onset of the Ukraine conflict. However, the 24-year-old driver recently had European sanctions, which previously prevented him from traveling to and working in the region, lifted after successfully challenging them in Europe’s Court of Justice.
Mazepin’s lawyers have stated that he now possesses the right to “negotiate with Formula 1 teams” and receive “income in connection with racing activities and negotiations with sponsors.”
Nevertheless, Antseliovich points out that the situation may not be as straightforward as it seems, especially considering the unique nature of Formula 1 compared to other sports.
“It is difficult to say whether Mazepin will now be able to negotiate with Formula 1 teams,” she told RT. “The rules there are not quite the same as in other sports. After all, we are talking about commercial competitions, not representing the Russian national team,” Antseliovich added.
“There are apparently some agreements in Formula 1 that other athletes are not subject to.”
Despite this uncertainty, Antseliovich believes that the European court’s repeated rulings in favor of Mazepin set a positive precedent for other athletes.
“It is no secret that legislators in most countries, including those in the EU, pay attention to these verdicts in similar cases,” Antseliovich said. “Let’s not forget that he was on the sanctions lists.”