The hot livery trend for the 2021 F1 season appears to be national racing colours.
Now Haas has joined the club. The American-run cars have usually raced in the grey and red of parent company Haas Automation, aside from their disastrous flirtation with a black-and-gold energy drink brand in 2019.
For 2021 the team’s cars will run in the white, blue and red colours of the Russian flag. The change is accompanied by the arrival of a new title sponsor, Uralkali. The Russian fertiliser producer is connected to one of the team’s two new drivers, Nikita Mazepin, via his father Dmitry.
Uralkali’s logos have appeared on many cars Mazepin has driven previously, including Force India’s Formula 1 car in 2018. The strong association with the colours of the Russian flag is a departure, however, and distinct from the company’s red and green branding.
Haas’s new look follows a recently-announced ban on Russian competitors, including Mazepin, using their country’s flag in professional sports. This follows a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in December on an investigation into doping by Russian athletes by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which the FIA is a signatory to.
The decision tightly prescribes how Mazepin may associate himself with his country’s flag and national colours. He is not allowed to bear the image of the Russian flag or its national symbols such as the two-headed eagle on his sporting equipment – in this case, his car. However he may incorporate incorporate the colours of the Russian flag.
Haas appears to have trod a careful path around this distinction. Several areas of the car’s livery feature the familiar white, blue and red pattern of the Russian flag. They are not arranged in a flag-shaped rectangle on the car, though the new logo of ‘Uralkali Haas F1 Team’ includes a thin strip of the Russian tricolour.
Mazepin cannot use the phrase ‘Russia’, ‘Russian’, or ‘Russian Automobile Federation’, none of which appear on the images of the livery issued by the team.
RaceFans understands the FIA had been made aware of Haas’s livery plans and the design is considered compliant with the restrictions set down by the CAS letter.
Following his promotion from Formula 2, Mazepin will make his F1 debut in the Bahrain Grand Prix later this month. If he continues in F1 next year, he will remain subject to the same restrictions until at least the end of 2022, but no longer, as CAS cut the original length of the ban from four years to two.
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