Nikita Mazepin, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

Haas to remove Russian colours and Uralkali branding from car

2022 F1 season

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The Haas Formula 1 team has confirmed it will remove the colours of the Russian flag and sponsorship branding from its car on the final day of running at the Circuit de Catalunya tomorrow.

The move by the team, whose title sponsor is the Russian petrochemicals giant Uralkali, follows Russia’s invasion of Ukraine over the last 24 hours.

The team’s Russian driver Nikita Mazepin will drive on the morning of the test as planned. His team mate Mick Schumacher will drive in the afternoon.

“Haas F1 Team will present its VF-22 in a plain white livery, minus Uralkali branding, for the third and final day of track running at Circuit de Barcelona–Catalunya on Friday 25th February,” said the team in a statement. “Nikita Mazepin will drive as planned in the morning session with Mick Schumacher taking over in the afternoon.

“No further comment will be made at this time regarding team partner agreements,” it added.

Haas pulled Mazepin and team principal Guenther Steiner out of media engagements at the Circuit de Catalunya today.

Mazepin is already forbidden from bearing the Russian flag on his racing overalls due to the restrictions imposed on the country’s athletes by the World Anti-Doping Agency. A two-year ban on the display of their flag and performances of their national anthem was applied at the beginning of last year, before Mazepin made his debut for the team, following violations by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency.

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Formula 1 teams are due to meet with the series’ CEO Stefano Domenicali at the circuit at 8pm local time to discuss the ramifications of Russia’s invasion. A key issue at stake is whether the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi Autodrom will go ahead as planned in September.

Yesterday Mazepin said he was confident the race would take place. “I have always been a big support of sport without politics,” he added.

Following the invasion several of Mazepin’s rivals spoke out against the race. Sebastian Vettel announced he will refuse to take part in the Russian Grand Prix if the race goes ahead.

“I think it’s wrong to race in that country,” he said. “I’m sorry for the innocent people that are losing their lives, getting killed for stupid reasons.”

Max Verstappen also said the race should not go ahead. Fernando Alonso, an ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), posted on social media: “In Ukraine, more than 7.5 million children are at risk. The ceasefire must be immediate.”

“I hope everybody can stay safe out there,” added Pierre Gasly on social media. “Crazy to see this happening in 2022.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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84 comments on “Haas to remove Russian colours and Uralkali branding from car”

  1. They had to. Good move. F1 needs to announce the Russian GP cancelled and off the calendar indefinitely. Be proactive.

    1. Fully agree. Time for money talk to end.

      1. I’ve been waiting for the ‘money talk’ to end for years. We’re still racing in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Hungary, and Abu Dhabi though.

        1. What do you have against Hungary? Sure, let’s move that race to UK, why are Hungarians to enjoy racing… Little people…

      2. Why not do it in Bernie style – take the money in advance, dribble with “We’re assessing the situation”, and then cancel it.

    2. I agree. Also cancel all GPs taking place in NATO countries that have invaded, occupied, bombed, or similar other nations.

      Usually the comments here are a laugh, one does not expect geopolitical insight here.

      1. Nor from you. NATO was primarily active to prevent escalating warfare in former Yugoslavia, which was basically it’s primary function: preventing war in Europe. These operations were UN approved. It’s two main operations outside Europe, Afghanistan and Libya, were again approved by UN resolution. Those wars and how they were conducted can be criticized, indeed in many cases should be, but they were within the bounds of international law (unlike the war on Iraq). Now just try imagining Russia gaining UN approval for invading Ukraine. See the difference? It’s been almost universally condemned (hello China) for good reason: Russia has invaded another country, with a democratically elected government, entirely unprovoked because, according to Putin, it has no real right to exist independently of Russia. This is basically the same argument used by Nazi Germany in the annexation of Austria. Only not peacefully in Russia’s case.

        1. Coventry Climax
          25th February 2022, 2:12

          Thank you, @david-br
          One would hope that racefans finds a way to block these people.

          1. Please, no! Weak arguments should be put to the test in free debate, not by banning opinions you don’t agree with. Censorship simply feeds any irrational beast lurking in people’s minds.

    3. And consistent please. Many other venues that shouldnt be there…

  2. Obviously the current situation on the ground Ukraine is far more important, but you have to question whether Haas will be able to continue in F1 (if one assumes that sanctions on Russia will prevent ongoing sponsorship payments from being received).

    1. It would be really funny if some American sponsorship requested to pain the Haas car as the American flag (stars and stripes), and see Mazepin driving that car.

      1. * paint

        1. that would be a pain for them, surely

      2. A person somewhere
        24th February 2022, 18:59

        Blue and yellow would be better.

        1. You mean Rossi?

          1. A person somewhere
            24th February 2022, 20:09

            Hint: What colours do you think are on the flag of Ukraine? ;)

        2. Yes, excellent idea!

      3. It wouldn’t be funny. It would be very respectable. It’s a huge financial investment to support an F1 team.

      4. Why on earth would any other sponsor leave Mazepin in the car? His only reason for being there is the money his father “invested”. Without that (i.e. if that is replaced by another sponsor), surely they would have another driver bringing new money with them.

      5. I’m pretty sure that Mazepin will cease to be an f1 driver the day that his Russian money stops.

      6. It’s possible to replace Mazepin if his sponsor money isn’t there maybe Mario A could jump in and bring his driver in!

        1. @macleod Herta still lacks the necessary SL points, which he can’t obtain in time for the season-opener anymore.
          2023 at the earliest in any case.

    2. Agree. I think this could be chance Andretti needs to enter F1.

  3. I mean with all the sanctions (that are doing absolutely nothing to stop this catastrophe) it’ll be impossible to race there

    1. Even flying there might be a hazard by then.

  4. If the partnership between Haas and Mazepin snr is done then I can really see Gene Haas pulling the plug on this. Probably there is the funding for this year then a sale to Andretti I imagine.

    1. I’m not certain there will be funding for this year especially if sanctions are in place which prohibit the transfer of funds to the team. Gene does not come across as enthusiastic as he used to be for the sport. I hope the Andretti name can join sooner, perhaps as a title sponsor for Haas, which could lead to Gene selling the remaining stake and exiting the sport.

      1. I too agree with Gene having a foot out the door sort-a-speak. I think this could provide a good opportunity for Andretti to partner up for a year or two giving Andretti that time to transition into their vision of an operation. I am curious to see what Mazepin’s standing will be because of all this.

        Plus, how cool would it be to have one team having names like Andretti and Schumacher together :)

  5. Well done Haas! The right thing to do, despite any financial penalty. I hope this doesn’t hurt the team though, they should be applauded for it.

    1. Coventry Climax
      24th February 2022, 19:14

      There’s nothing ‘well done’ to it, as it should never have been painted in the russian colours to start with.

      1. Them they may not have been able exist as an F1 team anymore

        1. Coventry Climax
          25th February 2022, 0:48

          That might be. And I can very well understand when they clutched at the last straw. But it’s still not right, and no excuse.

      2. Yes because Russian people are evil, so as their flag. More Russians protested against the war than people in your country, wherever you’re from (but it seems easy to guess). You’re right. They should wear Afghan colours, or Iraqi, or Yugoslav, or Syrian, or Indian (perhaps with an image of Gandhi?), or Lybian, or Egyptian (almost got occupied only so Brits could control the Suez and squeeze all the juice from that foreign country they had previously occupied and colonized for a long time), or… Damn, UK, lately along with their parents from USA had been so busy in the past several centuries, yet you feel free to talk about Russia. They are such aggressors in the last few years, but all of this they have learnt from you.

        1. Coventry Climax
          25th February 2022, 0:43

          1) Go ahead and guess where I’m from then.
          2) It’s not like it’ll make it OK with a childish ‘But they done it too, whoohoo’, when you get caught.
          3) And homo sapiens ousted the neanderthaler. Genocide! Are we still going to point fingers and moan about that too?

          Nobody says that what happened in history, and in almost any country -as long as you go back far enough-, was right.
          But past wrong can never be an excuse for future wrong.

        2. Coventry Climax
          25th February 2022, 0:48

          1) Go ahead and guess where I’m from then.
          2) It’s not like it’ll make it OK with a childish ‘But they done it too, whoohoo’, when you get caught.
          3) And homo sapiens ousted the neanderthaler. Are we still going to point fingers and moan about that too?

          Nobody says that what happened in history, and in almost any country -as long as you go back far enough-, was right.
          But past wrong can never be an excuse for future wrong.

        3. You’re argument is essentially that nobody from the UK can’t criticise Russia because what about terrible things the UK has done. UK has done bad things, but it’s a different topic, it’s like saying meat eaters can’t criticise the Russian invasion because what about animal cruelty.

  6. I guessed this would happen

    My guess is they will completely cut ties with the Russian money… the potential harm to Haas’s own brand is too great

    It’s not too late to replace Mazepin for the races.

    1. I think the decision is out of their hands ultimately, and they know it; since Haas is a US team they’re not going to be able to take Russian money real soon if it hasn’t been cut off already.

      Which raises an interesting question: I wonder who Mick’s team-mate will be? I hear Hulk is available…

      1. @dkor At this short notice, with three weeks left until the opening race weekend, the only suitable options are Giovinazzi & P. Fittipaldi.

        1. Isn’t a certain American driver aviable?

          1. @macleod No, because he lacks the necessary SL points, which he can’t obtain in time for the season-opener anymore.

        2. @jerejj Presumably Giovinazzi would need to be bought out of his Penske contract, though? I would guess Fittipaldi as the most likely stand-in, though if somebody else could bring the sponsorship and a superlicence they might be able to sort out a drive, either before the season starts or after the opening rounds. Perhaps one of the Ferrari academy drivers scheduled to run in F2.

          1. @red-andy True, I briefly forgot his FE commitment. Pietro Fittipaldi would probably start the season, if not continue for longer. BTW, Ferrari doesn’t have any Academy drivers in F2 this year.
            Limited options at this point should Mazepin lose his drive solely for nationality.

      2. Oscar Piastri is probably available and sat on the sidelines

  7. Kudos to Haas for doing the only right thing.

    1. Did they do it by choice though or have they had to do it due to sanctions? I imagine Mazipin will be on the sanctions list. His companies certainly will be hit hard.

  8. A white car, then…

  9. Wise move.

  10. Better late than never on getting rid of the Russian flag livery.

    Re: the 8pm meeting. Placing all the other issues of racing in Russia aside for a minute (this isn’t to say they aren’t more important, however) Isn’t VTB the main sponsor of the race? VTB has been added to the sanction list so I doubt very much Liberty could accept any money from them which could provide F1 a reasonable (albeit lame given the horrendous actions by the Russian government) excuse for canceling the grand prix.

    1. @g-funk Very good spot. And you’re right, VTB are indeed the Russian GP title sponsor and I’m pretty sure Liberty will not be able to take money from them, especially as their US assets are frozen.

    2. Very good point yeah @g-funk, one would think that in itself would complicate having the race.

  11. I always wondered what’s the point of Haas investing in F1. Now the moneyflow from the Russian sponsorship is probably going to be cut, what’s in it for him? there wasn’t much, anyway…

    And what a bouncy ride for them in terms of sponsorship! probably some decisions that need reviewing, although who could’ve seen this coming in late 2020 when Uralkali was announced. But after the Rich Energy debacle, this is the second big sponsor that’s leaving an empty livery.

    1. Haas should think harder about the company that they keep.

      1. Yeah, who could have guessed that taking money from a Russian Oligarch to sports-wash the country’s image could have turned out like this? *surprised pikachu*

  12. My prediction is that this may be the way in for Andretti and the way out for Haas in F1.

    1. @gabf1 You would think that this is the easier route for Andretti to be let into the F1 club.

  13. More than I expected from Haas F1

    With this first step, one might imagine them not standing in the way of all other teams and Liberty Media sending more than a token message after tonight’s meeting.

  14. Something very similar to Biden’s very weak sanctions. I’m very sorry for the people in Ukraine.

  15. Reminds me of that red Ferrari livery with a black nose without any sponsors at Monza

  16. Now that Haas won’t be getting any more of Putin’s Rubles I expect Mazepin to be shown the door. Why hold on to such a worthless driver when there are other options??

    1. @ryanoceros
      Even though UralKali sponsor and livery will be wiped from the car. That does not mean there is no money flow from Mazepin Sr. He could still be paying for his son’s seat. There are further details required here to determine exactly what is going on and likely that will take a little time to sort out. Maybe by Bahrain test this will be sorted. I do hope another driver jumps in and hope that HAAS can make something happen. This is looking like a fantastic opportunity for Andretti to come in. As someone else noted above, and I agree with their view… I don’t see HAAS sticking around too much longer in F1 anyways, so seems like a good stepping stone for Andretti to come in and have a couple year transition from HAAS to Andretti with a year or two partnership.

    2. True, however he still has a billionaire father, don’t see how he can’t do what stroll is doing if he wants.

      1. @esploratore1
        Well, Mazepin doesn’t have ownership of HAAS so they would have to make a bid for the team and if Andretti does… Who would the F1 teams support more? Me thinks the F1 VIP Club would support Andretti for multitudes of reasons… 1) the name, 2) Andretti Autosports has a proven track record of running competitive teams in multiple motorsport championships, and 3) has shown a willingness to actually build their own car. Mazepin Sr just has money.

        1. When sanctions are applied then he doesn’t even have the money. Mazepin will be forced out of the sport due to his country’s politics.

          1. He has still money but it would be very hard to move it..

          2. @flyingferrarim @The Dolphins @macleod
            Don’t assume the ultra rich have all their eggs in 1 basket. I think it is extremely unlikely the rich clique will have a large part of their assets frozen. Sure, some will have French Riviera mansions that they can’t sell now. But I don’t think they’ll shed many tears while they’re sitting in their Dubai mansions. Even the travel restrictions will probably not hurt them since it is still possible to buy citizenship/passports. They’ll probably have multiple passports already anyway. I think it will come down to a decision by Haas because I believe Mazepin Sr will still be able to uphold the contract and pay for his son regardless of any sanction.

  17. This is a 1 day thing, so far. Doesn’t mean the livery won’t be back for the next test.

  18. All those denials about it being a Russian flag on the livery are starting to sound hollow.

    1. They always sounded hollow.

  19. Good to see Haas not letting money get in the way of doing the right thing.

  20. About time this decision is made. The blatant disrespect for international sport by painting the entire car the banned flag’s colors. I can not understand why Gene Haas allowed this circus to happen with his team in the first place. Next up Mazepin should fade to obscurity, not because of the frankly irrelevant and overblown social media issues, but because he is a sub par driver.

    After that is done, and the cars are painted the HAAS company color, Haas should really reconsider the strategy they use to select their sponsors.

    Sell the team to Andretti at the end of ’22, which is an entire topic on it’s own.
    How is such a prestigious organization not embraced by F1 with open arms? Shame.

  21. Guess it would have been too provocative to use up all their blue paint and then do plenty of flo-viz testing tomorrow.

  22. That’s what I said. Nevertheless, I’m surprised with the fast reply. Good for them!

  23. thankfully they did it soon rather than waiting for more embarassment

  24. I’m sure Uralkali owns quite a few American, and other companies in its corporate structure.
    Look out for a new sponsor and livery that seems innocuous enough.

  25. Fair play to them… Even if it does rather highlight that the livery was indeed a Russian flag all along (like anyone didn’t know). But at least they have taken action.

    I’d expect Mazepin will be kept on in the very short term, but ultimately be dropped before the season starts. The sanctions on individuals and investments abroad, even as they stand now, will likely make it pretty difficult for Daddy Roubles to keep paying for his sons seat, if not now, then in the not too distant future.

    Will definitely end up being one of the more unusual reasons a driver has lost his seat in the history of the sport.

    For all the things he has done wrong both as an individual and generally just being not good enough of a driver but there for his families cash, it would be somewhat ironic if he ended up losing the seat thanks to his country waging a war and a lack of cash (as a result).

  26. Yes yes yes yes yes

  27. Do they have a choice? Still Russian money behind the team at this stage so they’ll need to find alternate finance.
    I believe Liberty has stopped ticket sales for the Russian GP.

  28. Too little, too late. I feel for the team. I hope the new employers show a bit more class.

    Not just the car they are taking the name off the trucks too.

  30. I am getting pretty frustrated with people – like Gasly – being so surprised that this is happening in 2022. For anyone who knows anything about geopolitics, they know that history only took a break after 1991, it didn’t end. China is arming and is more belligerent than ever, and clearly Russia has delusions of grandeur. We must always be on guard and be ready to push back against authoritarian regimes.

  31. Drive to Survive
    Season 5
    Episode 1
    Black screen ‘pre season testing begins in Barcelona’
    Gunther Steiner: Get that f’ing Russian f’ing flag of the f’ing car f’ing now!
    Opening credits roll..

  32. I’m sure Ukrainians and the rest of the free world appreciate a firm and binding decision on ditching all links to authoritarians in cahoots with Putin, immediately.

    It has been an embarrassment to see an American team fly Putin’s tricolor anyway. If a team can’t survive without blood money, it shouldn’t be in F1. The teams might want to look at other authoritarian sourced sponsorship also. Might become untenable soon.

    The free world should be done with half measures. Let’s take the initiative back from evil idiots.

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