Russian ex-F1 driver Nikita Mazepin fighting UK sanctions in return bid

Nikita Mazepin has not raced since he was dropped by Haas in March 2022. Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Nikita Mazepin, a Russian ex-Formula One driver, is fighting British government sanctions imposed following the invasion of Ukraine in a bid to resurrect his racing career.

Nikita Mazepin was dropped last March by his team Haas, which also severed ties with its title sponsor Uralkali URKAI.MM, a Russian fertiliser producer then controlled by his father, Belarus-born oligarch Dmitry Mazepin.

Both were later sanctioned by Britain, Canada, and the European Union, who described Dmitry Mazepin as "a member of the closest circle" of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Nikita Mazepin, 24, is now trying to overturn the British sanctions so he can negotiate with Formula One teams to return to the sport in 2024.

Britain imposed an asset freeze and travel ban on Mazepin, which his lawyers told London's High Court on Wednesday was preventing him from negotiating with teams.

His lawyer Rachel Scott said Mazepin wanted his challenge heard as a matter of "urgency" because of the need to develop a relationship with team staff before the 2024 season if he is offered a contract.

Mazepin is also challenging EU and Canadian sanctions as part of his attempt to return to Formula One.

In a witness statement, he said that "even if -- or while -- the Canadian sanctions remain in place, there is at least a prospect of me being able to enter into negotiations to return to Formula One if sanctions are lifted in both the EU and UK."

However, lawyers representing Britain's Foreign Office argued that Mazepin could still negotiate with F1 teams while the sanctions are in place.

Another hearing is expected to take place in June to decide whether sanctions can be temporarily lifted pending Mazepin's full challenge, which will be heard in July.