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

The Russian Grand Prix is not going to happen this weekend, however the Russian driver might be again on the Formula 1 grid quickly. If you thought “Season of the Fool” could not get any funnier, you would be unsuitable. As if he had come again from the lifeless, 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 beneath sure circumstances. At the start of March, Daniil Kvyat’s job was precisely that. Kvyat’s boss and G-Drive group proprietor Roman Rusinov refused to signal the contract required by the FIA. “For the sake of my followers, colleagues and the honour of my nation, it’s higher to not drive than to signal this doc,” stated Rusinov.

For instance, beginning beneath 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 instructed Autosport colleagues. The Russian believes that it’s inconceivable to return to Formula 1. “Right now shouldn’t be the precise time, however possibly in the future.”

Revival in America

Daniil Kvyat is at present collaborating in three races within the American NASCAR collection. “I’m welcome right here!” He plans to proceed there subsequent 12 months. “I’m completely happy right here. I’ve all the time wished to attempt NASCAR, so my little dream is coming true.” Kvyat at present drives with the Hezeberg group (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’ll be able to have a protracted profession in NASCAR. I wish to see how far it goes for me!” On October 8, Kvyat performed his third and last recreation of the season at Charlotte Roval.

Kvyat doesn’t hand over 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 shall we embrace: Hopefully we’ll speak about it once more sooner or later. 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 group denied rumors that Kvyat may substitute 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 effectively,” hopes Daniil Kvyat. If he may 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 effectively.”

Secret team meeting between Mekies, Kvyat and manager Todt, Photo: LAT Images
Secret group 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 modifications his swimsuit right into a racing swimsuit at any time

“Of course, for some time all the things was very tense, however now it is somewhat higher,” says Daniil Kvyat, assessing the present scenario 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 solutions. “People know my quantity and know the place to search out me,” Kvyat advertises himself. And the jokes: “I’m carrying a swimsuit proper now. But I can all the time change it to a racing swimsuit.”

An vital accomplice is Daniil Kvyat’s supervisor Nicolas Todt. Apart from Frenchman Kvyat, Charles Leclerc can 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 best for me!” The transition to NASCAR was far 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 present a check 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 firms 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 may by no means have been an choice 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 scenario, that is the destruction of a tradition directed in opposition to 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 positive {that a} return to Formula 1 is feasible sooner or later.” But: strolling beneath one other flag like Robert Schwartzman is inconceivable for Mazepin.

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

The former Haas driver can be campaigning to return to his race: “I keep in mind the good feeling after 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 will likely be in a unique place: “I feel in the future I will likely 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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