Formula 1’s Russian Dilemma: What’s Next?

The Russian Grand Prix is not going to happen this weekend, however the Russian driver may very well be again on the Formula 1 grid quickly. If you thought “Season of the Fool” could not get any funnier, you would be improper. As if again from the useless, Daniil Kvyat made a detour to the Monza circuit and chatted with Otmar Schaffnauer on the Alpine bike, fueling rumors of a attainable return to the primary class. The downside is his Russian citizenship.

Russian sanctions hampered Kvyats’ roadmap

According to the FIA, Russian and Belarusian drivers are allowed to compete in worldwide competitions, however solely beneath sure circumstances. At the start of March, Daniil Kvyat’s job was precisely that. Kvyat’s boss and G-Drive staff proprietor Roman Rusinov refused to signal the contract required by the FIA. “For the sake of my followers, colleagues and the respect of my nation, I might relatively not drive than signal this doc,” Rusinov mentioned.

For instance, beginning beneath the Russian flag, singing alongside to the nationwide anthem and any exercise exhibiting assist for Russia was prohibited. Kvyat did not remark on the time, however now he does: “Never say by no means,” he advised Autosport colleagues. The Russian believes that it’s unattainable to return to Formula 1. “Right now will not be the suitable time, however perhaps sooner or later.”

Revival in America

Daniil Kvyat is at the moment collaborating in three races within the American NASCAR sequence. “I’m welcome right here!” He plans to proceed there subsequent yr. “I’m blissful right here. I’ve all the time needed to strive NASCAR, so my little dream is coming true.” Kvyat at the moment drives with the Hezeberg staff (beneath the Russian flag) within the NASCAR Cup Series.

Daniil Kvyat drives the identical Formula 1 beginning quantity within the NASCAR Cup Series, Photo: LAT Images

Two conferences, two factors at Indianapolis and Watkins Glen. It is feasible to increase, however: “It will take a while to essentially attain the highest,” Daniil Kvyat perseveres. “If you do it proper, you possibly can have an extended profession in NASCAR. I wish to see how far it goes for me!” On October 8, Kvyat performed his third and closing recreation of the season at Charlotte Roval.

Kvyat doesn’t surrender his dream of Formula 1 in any respect

“Of course, Formula 1 will all the time have a particular place in my coronary heart,” says Daniil Kvyat about his outdated love. “Who is aware of. Maybe, or let’s consider: Hopefully we’ll speak about it once more in some unspecified time in the future. I’m nonetheless younger.” Even 13 years youthful than Fernando Alonso, who on the age of 41 seems like a rookie. In 2021, Kvyat was nonetheless working as a reserve driver within the Alps. However, Enstone’s staff denied rumors that Kvyat may change Alonso.

However, the previous Red Bull driver doesn’t wish to rule out the opportunity of a return to the premier class. “There are examples of drivers coming again after a brief break and nonetheless performing nicely,” hopes Daniil Kvyat. If he may return, his citizenship shouldn’t be an issue: “I’m open to it. I can begin anyplace within the US, it needs to be attainable in Europe as nicely.”

Secret team meeting between Mekies, Kvyat and manager Todt, Photo: LAT Images
Secret staff assembly between Mekies, Kvyat and supervisor Todt, Photo: LAT Images

Instead of the Russian flag, albeit beneath a impartial one. Daniil Kvyat is not going to refuse to compete beneath the Italian flag. The 28-year-old has lived in Italy for nearly a decade, whereas driving karts and driving AlfaTauri. “Of course, I’ll stay Russian, however when I’m right here I converse just like the locals, as if I grew up in Italy.” Max Verstappen’s predecessor even labored for 2 Italian racing groups, with Ferrari (as a driver in 2018) and Toro Rosso/AlphaTauri (2014-2020).

Kvyat adjustments his swimsuit right into a racing swimsuit at any time

“Of course, for some time every thing was very tense, however now it is somewhat higher,” says Daniil Kvyat, assessing the present state of affairs of himself and his Russian colleagues. “Unfortunately, this has set again our negotiations fairly a bit.” The query stays as to what number of Russian drivers the Formula 1 groups need for the time being. Anyway, he is open to recommendations. “People know my quantity and know the place to seek out me,” Kvyat advertises himself. And the jokes: “I’m sporting a swimsuit proper now. But I can all the time change it to a racing swimsuit.”

An essential associate is Daniil Kvyat’s supervisor Nicolas Todt. Apart from Frenchman Kvyat, Charles Leclerc can also be accountable. “Having him by my aspect undoubtedly helps,” the 28-year-old showered Todt with roses. “But I even have private connections.” But crucial factor is time. For others, it is as a result of: “I’m all the time able to get again into the Formula 1 cockpit. It’s the simplest for me!” The transition to NASCAR was way more tough at first.

Robert Schwartzman: From Russian to Israeli

Another (half) Russian rides a Ferrari: Robert Schwartzman. The Formula 2 winner holds Israeli and Russian citizenship and is at the moment a check driver for the Scuderia. Schwartzman will bounce into the cockpit of the F1-75 in Austin and (presumably) Abu Dhabi. After Russia invaded Ukraine, the 23-year-old switched from Russian to the Israeli flag.

“Robert was born in Israel,” says Mattia Binotto. “He has an Israeli passport, and as for the license, there may be completely no Russian in it. All agreements with Russian corporations have been terminated.” Before that, Shvartsman was sponsored by the Russian motorsport group SMP Racing.

Mazepin: I’ll by no means surrender Russia for Formula 1!

All this could by no means have been attainable for Nikita Mazepin. After the check drives in Bahrain, Haas misplaced the 23-year-old Russian, his father Dmitry and his sponsor Urukali because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Mazepin household has since sued Haas, and their son Nikita has created a basis to assist Russian athletes. “If you take a look at the entire state of affairs, that is the destruction of a tradition directed in opposition to the athletes of my nation,” he mentioned, condemning the sanctions.

Nikita Mazepin and his father are nonetheless on the EU’s prolonged sanctions record. Nevertheless, he’s optimistic: “I’m certain {that a} return to Formula 1 is feasible sooner or later.” But: strolling beneath one other flag like Robert Schwartzman is unattainable for Mazepin.

“Whether you wish to depart your nation for sports activities is as much as you,” Nikita Mazepin advised Ria Novosti in an interview. – But I will not try this! Although he doesn’t blame Schwartzman for this, he can not perceive it. “We are athletes and everybody has to make their very own selections,” Mazepin mentioned. “You must respect that.”

The former Haas driver can also be campaigning to return to his race: “I bear in mind the nice feeling after I was on the rostrum in Russia. It’s a disgrace that the drivers and spectators are going with out him now,” says the Russian. In 2020, Mazepin completed second to Guanyu Zhou within the Formula 2 dash race in Sochi.

If the first-class cabin doesn’t work out for Nikita Mazepin, as anticipated, he can be in a unique place: “I feel sooner or later I can be there as a businessman. But not in a rush.” Three pilots, three fates, it couldn’t be in any other case. Continuation.

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