Nikita Mazepin may not be able to race under the Russian flag in Formula 1 this year.
Recently, Nikolay Gryazin had to contest the Monte Carlo rally as a ‘neutral athlete’, following the world anti-doping agency’s decision to ban Russia from international competition over a widespread cheating scheme.
Russian F1 pundit Alexey Popov thinks Haas rookie Mazepin may be similarly affected.
“There is a solution,” the Match TV commentator said. “In many sports now they compete under the flag of the national federation – in this case, it would be the Russian Automobile Federation.
“As for the anthem, we’ll see, but you’d have to be a strong optimist to imagine him winning at Haas in the first year. But the flag is everywhere – over the circuit, over the garages, on the overalls.
“It wouldn’t be very pleasant to be deprived of that,” Popov added.
There has also been speculation that Formula 1 will have to rename the Russian GP, instead calling it the Krasnodar or Sochi GP.