Nikita Mazepin has been dropped by Haas ahead of the new Formula One season according to reports.
The Russian driver’s seat has been under much scrutiny since his country of birth invaded Ukraine, despite the FIA giving him the go-ahead to compete under a neutral licence.
As part of dropping the 23-year-old, it also paves the way for also dropping the team’s main sponsor, from Russia, in Uralkali the report adds.
Reserve driver Fittipaldi is now likely to step up and replace him, with the grandson of two time world champion Emerson Fittipaldi looking to add to his two races for the team from the back end of the 2020 season.
He could be back behind the wheel as soon as next week for the final pre-season test at the Sakhir Circuit in Bahrain.
Mazepin, who scored zero points in his debut season with the team last term, saw his future in F1 look bleak once pressure on sport to cut ties with Russian affiliation increased, but his future was given a slight boost this week when after an FIA meeting, the motorsport governing body gave permission of any Russian or Belarusian drivers to compete under a neutral flag.
In response, Motorsport UK, chaired by David Richards, decided to expel all Russians from competition – effectively banning Mazepin from competing at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone this year.
NIkita Mazepin has reportedly been dropped by Haas ahead of the new season
Haas have already removed the colours of the Russian flag from their car for this season
Mazepin’s father, oligarch Dmitry, is a part-owner of Haas’ title sponsor, Uralkali.
Haas removed branding of the Russian chemical company for the final day of testing in Barcelona last week.
MailOnline has contacted Haas for comment.
Sportsmail understands that Stefano Domenicali, F1’s chief executive, supports Richards’ stance.
He rang Richards from Mexico on Monday night to voice his opinions and he is aghast at the FIA’s wishy-washy response to the global crisis, which allowed Russian drivers to compete under an FIA banner.
Richards, who is a former boss of Jenson Button’s BAR Honda team, said: ‘It is our duty to use whatever influence and leverage we might have to bring this wholly unjustified invasion of Ukraine to a halt.
Pietro Fittipaldi (left) could now be set to partner up with Mick Schumacher at the team
‘We would encourage the motorsport community and our colleagues around the world to fully embrace the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee and do whatever we can to end this war.’
Other motor racing governing bodies, including Ireland’s, have fallen in line with the British position.
One marshal who officiates at races said: ‘I was devastated when I heard the FIA refused to say anything meaningful about Russia and I cried in delight on hearing what Motorsport UK has done.’
But Bernie Ecclestone, 91, who established a grand prix in Sochi, now cancelled, and is a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said: ‘It was absolutely the right decision by the FIA. If there is a Russian driver in F1, what does it have to do with Russia fighting a war? There is no relationship there.’
Formula One has cancelled its contract with the Russian Grand Prix after the Ukraine invasion
The decision comes six days after this year’s race, due to take place in Sochi on September 25, was pulled from the calendar.
F1 bosses announced only last June that an agreement had been reached to move the Russian round to Igora Drive, 40 miles north of St Petersburg, from 2023.
But following the country’s invasion of Ukraine, the sport has moved to scrap the race altogether.
Ukraine war: The latest
- Peace talks between the two sides resumed today, with negotiators meeting on the Belarus border
- Vladimir Putin called Emmanuel Macron to tell him that he has no intention of calling off the invasion, will keep going until ‘the end’, and may increase his demands despite suffering losses
- Russian forces take the Black Sea port of Kherson in southern Ukraine, the first major city to fall
- Invasion so far has been badly managed, a ‘disaster, through and through’, US defence experts say
- Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv continues to come under heavy Russian shelling
- Column of Russian vehicles north of Kyiv ‘stalled’ due to fuel and food shortages, and Ukrainian resistance
- More than one million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion
- Moscow admits 498 troops have died in Ukraine, widely thought to be an under-estimate but still a record total for post-Soviet Russia
- The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor says an active probe into possible war crimes in Ukraine ‘will immediately proceed’
- A Bangladeshi sailor is killed in an attack on his vessel docked in the Black Sea port of Olvia
- Russia floats the possibility of a ceasefire with talks with Ukraine scheduled for Thursday
- Russia tells citizens in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol to leave, raising fears bombing will intensify
- UN General Assembly demands Russia ‘immediately’ withdraws. Moscow wins support from only four nations – Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea and Syria
- Swedish Armed Forces say four Russian fighter jets entered its airspace in the Baltic Sea
- US launches ‘KleptoCapture’ with the aim of seizing yachts, private jets and homes of Russian oligarchs
- Chelsea Russian owner Roman Abramovich confirms he is selling the Premier League club
- Ukraine invites mothers of captured Russian troops to come and collect their sons
- Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny urges Russians to protest daily against the invasion
- US follows the EU in targeting Russian ally Belarus with sanctions for supporting invasion