Watching races after F1 axe ‘not pleasant’ – Mazepin

Mon, 18 December 2023, 08:00

Dec.18 (GMM) Nikita Mazepin admits it has been difficult to keep up with Formula 1 after being expelled from the sport two seasons ago.

Sacked by Haas and sanctioned by western countries, the Russian finally returned to circuit racing recently in the Asian Le Mans series at Sepang – and won.

Still just 24, he’s now setting his sights on Le Mans in 2024, given that victory in the Asian Le Mans series ensures him a place on the grid of the fabled 24 hour race.

“Depending on the calendar, I would really like to do Le Mans,” he told the Russian portal Championat. “I’d also really like to compete at Daytona.

“I’m not forgetting about Formula 1 either, but there are still difficulties. I can have a place at Le Mans, but we cannot forget about the sanctions.

“Fortunately there are interim measures but there are still difficulties, like visa issues for example,” Mazepin added.

Therefore, Mazepin confirmed that the fallout of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war is still the darkest cloud over his entire career as a racing driver.

“It’s like one step forward, two steps back, three steps forward,” he said. “Still, after Formula 1, the series in Asia is a downgrade. But I’m trying to keep myself at the right weight and shape to return to F1 if I can.

“But I’m human. I have a certain number of years on this earth, even though I’m definitely not going to end my career.”

Mazepin admits that after being kicked out of F1, it’s now difficult to sit down to watch the grands prix on TV.

“It’s not always a pleasant feeling to watch them,” he said. “It’s even quite stressful. Because I know that just a four-hour flight from Moscow there is a track in Europe where it’s taking place, but for some subjective reasons I cannot get there.

“For a person who is 24, this is a difficult psychological challenge,” added Mazepin.

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