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 he had come again from the useless, Daniil Kvyat circled the Monza circuit, chatted with Otmar Schaffnauer on the Alpine bike and fueled rumors of a attainable return to the premier 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 underneath sure circumstances. At the start of March, Daniil Kvyat’s job was precisely that. Kvyat’s boss and G-Drive crew 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, it’s higher to not drive than to signal this doc,” stated Rusinov.

For instance, beginning underneath the Russian flag, singing alongside to the nationwide anthem, and any exercise exhibiting assist for Russia was banned. 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 unimaginable to return to Formula 1. “Right now is just not the best time, however perhaps sooner or later.”

Revival in America

Daniil Kvyat is at the moment collaborating in three races within the American NASCAR collection. “I’m welcome right here!” He plans to proceed there subsequent yr. “I’m completely satisfied right here. I’ve at all times needed to attempt NASCAR, so my little dream is coming true.” Kvyat at the moment drives with the Hezeberg crew (underneath 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 broaden, however: “It will take a while to actually attain the highest,” Daniil Kvyat perseveres. “If you do it proper, you’ll be able to have a protracted profession in NASCAR. I need to see how far it goes for me!” On October 8, Kvyat performed his third and remaining sport of the season at Charlotte Roval.

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

“Of course, Formula 1 will at all times 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 discuss 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 appears like a rookie. In 2021, Kvyat was nonetheless working as a reserve driver within the Alps. However, Enstone’s crew denied rumors that Kvyat might change Alonso.

However, the previous Red Bull driver doesn’t need 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 properly,” hopes Daniil Kvyat. If he might return, his citizenship shouldn’t be an issue: “I’m open to it. I can begin wherever within the US, it must be attainable in Europe as properly.”

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

Instead of the Russian flag, albeit underneath a impartial one. Daniil Kvyat is not going to refuse to compete underneath 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 modifications his go well with right into a racing go well with at any time

“Of course, for some time every little thing was very tense, however now it is a little bit 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 in the intervening time. Anyway, he is open to options. “People know my quantity and know the place to search out me,” Kvyat advertises himself. And the jokes: “I’m carrying a go well with proper now. But I can at all times change it to a racing go well with.”

An vital companion is Daniil Kvyat’s supervisor Nicolas Todt. Apart from Frenchman Kvyat, Charles Leclerc can be accountable. “Having him by my facet undoubtedly helps,” the 28-year-old showered Todt with roses. “But I even have private connections.” But a very powerful factor is time. For others, it is as a result of: “I’m at all times able to get again into the Formula 1 cockpit. It’s the best for me!” The transition to NASCAR was rather more troublesome 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 take a look at driver for the Scuderia. Schwartzman will bounce into the cockpit of the F1-75 in Austin and (probably) Abu Dhabi. After Russia invaded Ukraine, the 23-year-old switched from Russian to the Israeli flag.

“Robert was born in Israel,” is Mattia Binotto’s clear opinion. He has an Israeli passport, as for the license, he doesn’t have a Russian passport in any respect. 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 hand over Russia for Formula 1!

All this is able to by no means have been an possibility for Nikita Mazepin. After the take a look at drives in Bahrain, Haas misplaced the 23-year-old Russian, his father Dmitry and his sponsor Urukali on account 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 have a look at the entire state of affairs, that is the destruction of a tradition directed towards the athletes of my nation,” he stated, 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 underneath one other flag like Robert Schwartzman is unimaginable for Mazepin.

“Whether you need to go away your nation for sports activities is as much as you,” Nikita Mazepin advised Ria Novosti in an interview. – But I will not do 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 stated. “You need to respect that.”

The former Haas driver can be campaigning to return to his race: “I bear in mind the nice feeling once I stood on the rostrum in Russia. It’s a disgrace that the drivers and spectators are 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 might be in a special place: “I feel sooner or later I might be there as a businessman. But not in a rush.” Three pilots, three fates, it couldn’t be in any other case. To be continued.

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