Nikita Mazepin already has been the center of controversy in Formula One, but only after a single year at the pinnacle of motorsports, the Haas driver’s career behind the steering wheel has reached a point of uncertainty.
As it turns out, Mazepin must undergo a one year military service at the Russian military, which is a mandatory in Russia. Mazepin, who is now 22 years of age, must serve in the uniform for 12 months, as anyone over the age of 18 must in Russi.
The news was confirmed by Mazepin’s father Dmitry Mazepin, a Russian billionaire who is also the owner of Uralchem, a chemical company based in Moscow, which is also the title sponsor of Haas.
“Nikita has 23 races to do this year, and they are telling him that he needs to join the army – ‘You need to go to the training camp’,” Mazepin senior said at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.
While the Russian military did not call in Mazepin’s services four years after he was eligible, it would be impossible for the F1 driver to continue his 2021 season with so many grand prix remaining while he serves in the uniform.
“He (Mazepin) said to me, “Dad, what should I do? I have a race every two weeks’,” the father went on, “Nobody wants to listen. But it’s not just about Nikita Mazepin, but everyone else who is in the same situation.”
“The state doesn’t give a damn about these athletes,” Mazepin senior lamented.
Mazepin is currently at the bottom of the F1 drivers standings and still has 23 races remaining for this season. After retiring at the inaugural Bahrain GP, the Russian finished 17th, 19th, 19th and 17th at the Italian, Portugal, Spanish and Monaco GPs respectively.
Nikita Mazepin not the first F1 driver to undergo mandatory military service
Just like Russia, there are a number of other countries that have mandatory military service for its citizens, like South Korea, Switzerland, Finland, Austria etc to name a few.
Former F1 superstar Kimi Raikkonen had undergone 6 months of military service during his early career and earned the rank of Corporal. His compatriot Valtteri Bottas also underwent the same and was a Lance Corporal.