Nikita Mazepin, Haas VF-22 launch, Barcelona, 2022

Uralkali demands Haas sponsorship refund after Mazepin loses drive

2022 F1 season

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Former Haas sponsor Uralkali has criticised the team for terminating their deal over what it described as political reasons and is demanding the money it paid is refunded.

Haas announced on Saturday it had cut its ties to Uralkali following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A statement issued by Uralkali said the company “was advised by the team of their unilateral termination of the sponsorship agreement with Uralkali due to the current geopolitical situation.”

Russian president Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine on February 24th. The following day Haas removed Uralkali’s logos from its car.

The team later confirmed the cancellation of the sponsorship deal and Nikita Mazepin’s contract to drive for them. Mazepin is the son of Uralkali’s billionaire owner Dmitry Mazepin, whose meeting with Putin in January was publicised on Uralkali’s website at the time, then deleted following the invasion.

In its statement today Uralkali said it considered Haas’s reaction “unreasonable” and argued “sports should always be free of politics and pressure from external factors.”

It indicated its next step could be to take legal action. “Uralkali intends to protect its interests in line with applicable legal procedures and reserves its rights to initiate judicial proceedings, claim damages and seek repayment of the significant amounts Uralkali had paid for the 2022 Formula 1 season.

“As most of the sponsorship funding for the 2022 season has already been transferred to Haas and given that the team terminated the sponsorship agreement before the first race of the 2022 season, Haas has thus failed to perform its obligations to Uralkali for this year’s season. Uralkali shall request the immediate reimbursement of the amounts received by Haas.”

Report: Uralkali warned Haas it would pull sponsorship in row over Mazepin’s car in 2021
Following the outbreak of war the FIA announced drivers from Russia and Belarus, which facilitated the invasion, would only be allowed to participate in events under certain conditions. The FIA stated such drivers must be identified as neutrals, should “acknowledge the strong commitment made by the FIA to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine” and undertake to “not express any support (direct or indirect) for the Russian and/or Belarusian activities in respect of Ukraine.” Mazepin is one of several Russian drivers whose participation in FIA events this year has been cancelled.

Other sports have taken different stances in reaction to the war. Russian teams have been banned from some competitions including FIFA and UEFA football competitions, rugby, skiing, ice skating, basketball and other disciplines. Some sports have allowed Russian individuals to continue competing as neutral participants.

Uralkali added: “The refund from Haas and the remaining part of Uralkali’s sponsor financing for 2022 will be used to establish the We Compete As One athlete support foundation”. Mazepin later said the foundation, which mimics the name of Formula 1’s ‘We Race As One’ initiative, is intended “to help athletes who have been blocked from competing for political reasons.”

Formula 2 team Hitech also confirmed yesterday it had cut its ties with Uralkali.

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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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101 comments on “Uralkali demands Haas sponsorship refund after Mazepin loses drive”

  1. will be used to establish the We Compete As One athlete support foundation”

    probably meant to give Putin his judo belt back.

    1. Good one!

    2. You can’t criticize every Russian for one madman’s actions. As much appalled as I am at the violence unleashed by Putin’s barbaric actions, I am also shocked at how prone the Western world is to prejudice. Injustice can’t be repaid with injustice. So many athletes and sports teams have had their plans toppled by these biased actions by Haas, Hitech and FIFA plus other governing bodies. I was glad that the FIA stayed away from this hypocrisy but Mazepin lost his seat anyway. If someone want to set things right, don’t balk at people doing it, sitting from your cushioned sofa. I wish the We Compete As One initiative the very best. If Haas is on the track for these tests, it’s with Uralkali’s money. So they better give it back. Sports should never be mixed with politics. Unfortunately, the actions of Putin and the resultant hypocrisy of the western world is only going to make Russians hate the west all the more. There have been plenty of protests in Russia against Putin’s actions that have been crushed. The government should fall, but don’t assume that every Russian citizen is inside the Kremlin advising Putin.

  2. Oh, I’m sure Nikita Dmitryevich and his dad would love to get a multi-million dollar/euro/frank refund, presumably to a shell company outside Russia, now that transactions out of their beloved motherland have become a bit cumbersome.

    1. So you think that Haas should steal the money and just sign another sponsor, getting paid twice? I’m sure there are ways to pay the money back, after all, how do all the EU countries still pay for the Russian gas? I imagine it’s quite possible and I dare not imagine Mr Haas had any intention on robbing his sponsors.

      1. For what it’s worth, payments for energy (gas / oil) purchases are still permitted via SWIFT (agree or disagree with it, that’s just how it is).

        “Refunds” for sponsorship? Not so much.

      2. Every little bit counts when bringing the Russians to their knees.

        1. Bring Putin and his cohorts to their knees, not the Russians.

      3. Haas should refund the money but the transactions should be blocked until transactions with Russian companies are allowed again.

      4. @Dex Well said!

  3. “sports should always be free of politics and pressure from external factors.”

    You mean like sponsor demands?

  4. I mean, if Haas did receive money for this season and cancelled the contract, then I’d say it’s only fair they pay it back.

    Perhaps pay it back in the exact amount in Rubles at current exchange rates as it was received at the time, would be fairest, given that anything but Rubles are pretty much worthless inside Russia at this time.

    1. Absolutely right.

    2. It all depends on what is in their contracts @sjaakfoto. There might have been clauses allowing Haas to ditch the branding regardless in case of sanctions etc (which would be prudent given who the sponsor and their country were). I would imagine that Haas took on some very good contract lawyers after the debacle with Rich Energy.

      Off course nobody will keep Uralkali from suing (apart from issues about paying lawyers, or lawyers potentially not wanting to provide legal services to russian Oligarchs and their companies) Haas.

      1. I would say this tidbit makes their case somewhat worse

        Dmitry and Nikita Mazepin are both included on a list of 14 oligarchs who are being sanctioned by the EU. Mazepin Snr met with Putin on same day (Feb 24) Haas chose to remove Uralkali branding at pre-season testing.

    3. Ian Stephens
      9th March 2022, 18:43

      There will be a termination clause in the contract and Haas should abide by it, if sanctions allow. Otherwise there will be a Force Majeure clause and they should follow that.

  5. If sport should be free from politics, why did you insist on the car bearing the flag of a country that was banned from being represented in sport?

    1. Gabe (@gabedijkstra)
      9th March 2022, 10:32

      +1

    2. Exactly. Sports in Russia is used for political reasons in many ways and is practically unseparable. And it’s always their main argument, that we shouldn’t mix politics and sports, in spite the fact they are doing exactly that.

    3. @sonnycrockett I think thats called ‘nail on head’

    4. Indeed @sonnyrocket.

  6. And the hits keep coming for Haas.

    1. They deserve it… they associated themselves with pay drivers and dirty money… knowing very well what kind of people are behind the money. I hope they fold, it’s only right.

      1. Yet it’s OK for other teams to associate with billionaires and dubious money sources/businesses?

        I get it that Uralkali is owned by an oligarchy, but a fair chunk of that business is probably just as legitimate as aramco and others associated with F1.

        Haas doesn’t seem to be able to attract US money and made a decision to team up with a major sponsor with a pay driver, not unlike several other teams have in the past, to get the funding to develop their 2022 car.

        They’ve been given no choice by world affairs but to terminate that arrangement, quite rightfully I might add, but it still must suck for them to be back on the bones of their backside at the start of this season.

        1. @dbradock Don’t engage in whataboutism… dirty money is dirty money and I dislike any team that uses it. People who do when other options aren’t available are either egoistic or immoral. No exceptions.

          1. Isn’t tobacco money dirty money too? Something that kills people in millions globally? So your idealistic and morally high self should be fuming at the Ferraris of the past, the Rothmans Williams’, the Benson & Hedges Jordans, the John Player Lotuses…? If not, you’re a hypocrite.

    2. True. I’m curious to see what’s the next adventure. I think they should enter negotiations with Trotters Independent Traders and paint their cars yellow. The Brits will know what I’m talking about probably.

      1. Maybe the cars should only have three wheels too and their drivers should be renames Del-boy and Rodders?

        It’s not like Gene Haas doesn’t have enough resource to hand the money back and keep the team going until a new title sponsor is found. Hard to feel too sorry for them really.

        It does highlight the issue of nationalists and billionaires getting involved in sport from a sponsorship, pay-driver and race hosting. But we’re OK with the middle-east and China right? It’s fine to repress your own people, just not to invade and repress other countries? That’s where sport and ‘politics’ don’t mix? Or should I not be putting my western concept of human rights onto other countries?

        It’s hard to navigate F1’s nuanced political and moral policies. It’s about as consistent as the application of sporting rules I guess.

        (To anyone I’ve upset with my rambling opinion: Sorry you’re feeling upset/angry/whatever)

  7. Just wait a month a month and pay back in Roubles.

    But seriously what court is going to listen to Russians when they disregard all kinds of laws themselves?

    1. The courts don’t listen, they follow the law. Strictly, with no discrimination. That’s how it works in normal countries. If that ends, then the West as we know it ends too and starts looking like Ukraine and Russia (both equally corrupt since their USSR days until 2022).

      1. Is that Putin’s member I see in your mouth?

      2. If Russia disregards law in internation courts they get excluded from those courts. There are no hearings.

      3. Dex, and seriously what do you know about corruption in Ukraine to claim they are equally corrupt?

  8. If Haas is acting in good faith, they should return the money or else it is theft. If you don’t want Russian drivers of sponsors, you should not take Russian money.

    1. They should transfer the money to a neutral party such as FIA or Liberty who should get either permission to hand them back or to have them confiscated just like any oligark assets in the West. It will then not be Haas problem at all.

      1. Haas signed a contract with Uralkali, not with Liberty or the FIA. It can’t simply make up a rule that says it can give the money to somebody else and then it’s somebody else’s problem.

    2. No they have to freeze all that money if that company is on the list.

    3. Grannie Annie
      10th March 2022, 7:43

      They should put it in a bank account in the US and when sanctions are over then Ural Kali can access it.

  9. Some of the comments here are typically wide of the mark, and in poor taste as usual.
    A little more respect for people who haven’t actually declared war on anyone would be good – but too much to ask, no doubt.

    Assuming that the facts are as reported – a legally binding contract has been terminated voluntarily by one party; the other is well within their rights to expect repayment/reparation and penalty. That’s how contracts typically work.

    And blaming Haas for entering into the contract initially is just as pointless… If money grew on trees, they’d have picked a different tree, I’m sure.

    1. No, we’re not. We’re trying keep all Russians accountable because they are. Too many of these sick people still support the regime, Putin, return to pre 1991 USSR territory and war in Ukraine. Not directly saying it’s a war in Ukraine is an indication of support for aggression. And you ask to respect them? Are you sick too?

      1. But you can’t make a sweeping generalisation based on them being russians, there’s definitely russians against the war too that are being punished as well, surely since expressing opposition to putin, as far as I heard, isn’t wise for a russian.

        1. Sure you can make sweeping generalizations. There’ll be time enough when its over to sort that out. We have to bring down the common Russian as well.

          1. It is sad to see that Russia is not the only one that steps back a decade each day since the start of the invasion.

        2. @esploratore1 that is not a generalisation. They really are, every one of them with a Russian passport accountable for their president and actions of that country because of their governement. You can argue not all have the same opinion, or whether some do something about it but they are all responsible. Mazepin has done nothing to speak agains the regime… instead he used his dad’s money to pay for his seat. This action alone is an act of support for Putin and his regime. Shady deals and general history of Mazepin shows how you rob people of wealth, of opportunities, of choise, of thought… these poeple have come to power because others like them have found each other useful to exploit the lower class. Mazepins are human beings that don’t deserve existence, never mind luxuries of life like F1 or claim to fairness which is what they try to do here.

      2. publicly expressing*

      3. We’re trying keep all Russians accountable because they are.

        Some are, some aren’t, @ivan-vinitskyy. Don’t paint everyone with the same brush, or assume that they all feel the same.
        I’d suggest that very few want a war, and many (most?) would be happy to rid their country of their current leadership – but they simply lack the freedom and power to do so.

        Not directly saying it’s a war in Ukraine is an indication of support for aggression.

        That is most certainly not support. Stop being so binary and aggressive.

        And you ask to respect them? Are you sick too?

        I try to respect all humans equally, but that respect has conditions based around individual actions, intentions and other factors. I’d hope that other people do the same, yes. Does that make me sick?
        I refuse to condemn anyone simply for being Russian. If you do, then I have less respect for you and feel sorry for you at the same time.

        1. I understand you don’t like to take responsibility. Nothing I can do there. Read my answer above why I hold each Russian responsible.

          1. I read it, and I completely disagree with it.
            I’m actually quite saddened by it, to be honest.

    2. That is how contracts work but if the Russian’s aren’t holding their end of the deal when they have hold of money, why would others?

      Here’s an example regarding a British satellite that should have launched from Russia: “This money, due to force majeure circumstances that have arisen as a result of the aggressive policy of the West and the sanctions that are applied against Russia, this money will remain in Russia”

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-60587154

      Perhaps a Russian court should decide if this war means money won’t be returned or whether (in both cases) it should be.

      1. That is how contracts work but if the Russian’s aren’t holding their end of the deal when they have hold of money, why would others?

        A race to the bottom where everybody loses. That’s brilliant.

        1. They bombed a maternity hospital today. I think enough people are losing in a major way that some sponsorship money is entirely irrelevant.

          1. If the Brits and Americans paid fair money for every country they invaded, every hospital they bombed and every civilian they murdered, they’d be bankrupt and you’d be broke. Hypocrisy is a funny thing, because the hypocrite often doesn’t even recognize his/her hypocrisy.

    3. I don’t find myself agreeing with your comments too often recently S. But this one I largely do agree with.

      We don’t know what the exact terms of their deal were. We don’t know whether there might have been any delays in payment (Uralkali states there weren’t). We don’t know whether sanctions were specifically included in some terms in the contract. And we don’t know on what grounds the contract was exactly cancelled.

      I presume that Haas did look into this with their lawyers (they said they would about a week ahead of the cancelling) before cancelling. Either they terminated in a valid way, or not – it could be they did not, but decided the risk/cost of doing so was less/cheaper than not ending the deal.

      In any case Uralkali has every right to request a review and potentially file a suit for unlawful termination. In that case either it will be eventually judged by the courts. Or the parties reach some sort of settlement.

      All of that is perfectly fine. Off course, if Haas DID have to pay back some of the funding provided, that might turn into another lawsuit since it currently is not easy to send money to a Russian entity.

  10. I wonder how much longer Gene Haas will be willing to be part of the F1 circus. In interviews in 2020 he didn’t seem too enthused by F1, I’m not sure that the admin and stress is outbalanced by the glamour. I always got the impression he was banking on the new regs giving the team a new energy (not Rich Energy, obviously).

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Haas were sold and bought by some billionaire desperate to be part of F1, unless the work from last year focussing on the new regs has resulted in an absolute rocket.

    The car is almost a literal blank canvas too. If only I had a few million in the bank rather than three hundred quid ….”Rooke GP” might look good on those side pods.

    1. As long as he’s getting advertising value out of it, he’s in.

      1. I have no idea what products Haas makes or where they can be purchased

        1. Haas Automation; they make high tech CNC machines: https://www.haascnc.com/index.html

        2. They make CNC industrial machines, so that’s probably not surprising.

    2. I was pretty sure that a certain billionaire was going to buy it until everything went pear shaped.

    3. Knock knock, Mr. Haas? There’s two gentlemen here to talk to you, Mr. Mario and Michael. They apologize for not scheduling a meeting first, but they said you might be interested in their proposal….

    4. I don’t think Haas needs a title sponsor. I’m sure he’ll take it, but one will come along.

  11. Given the economic sanctions, I’m not sure they can give it back legally right now.

  12. Starting a war makes pretty much all existing contracts null & void. Therefore, good luck with refunding attempt.

    1. Uralkali didn’t start a war.

      1. @OOliver True, but the company’s original country did.
        @jff Valid points.

      2. Neither did many of the people affected. People all over the world are going to lose huge sums of money because of this war.

    2. The contract could probably be cancelled under the force majeur clause (which it undoubtedly has).
      But a refund might still be due, even when using that clause.

      I’d give Mazepin some kudos if he allowed Haas to run with a blue and yellow front wing and change the words Uralkali to Ukraine for the sponsorship he paid.

  13. Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the oligarchs?

  14. Uralkali demanding a refund is the only course of action they can reasonably take. They aren’t exactly going to say “nah, it’s all good, we understand.”

    This action is unsurprising. Who is on better legal grounds is difficult to determine at this point.

  15. If true haas should have kept Mazepin. The fia can’t allow the team to run under the current dispute. Haas has to pay back.

    1. You ever hear of Force India. Haas can continue to run with this pending.

    2. A dispute over money with a sponsor is no reason to disallow a team to compete @peartree.

      As for Mazepin’s drive, he already mentioned that he has no interest in pursuing a case at the contract recognition board (either because he really doesn’t feel like racing for the team after how he feels he was mistreated, or because he knows they did have valid grounds), so that has now become rather irrelevant.

      1. @bascb it is and it has happened dozens of times in the past, uncommon these days. The fia has statutes besides you could take a motion to a civil courts and stop haas from racing.
        Also one could argue haas are still financed by russian money since they have kept the money.

        1. Well, you would have to have a far better reason than “I paid them money to let my son drive and now I am sanctioned and my son too, but I would want to force this team to bide by their agreement despite risking the teams future by doing so” for any judge to even contemplate granting any motion to stop the team from competing @peartree

          The last time we saw something of that kind was when Guido vd. Garde tried to make Sauber give him the drive he felt he had been given after he took the money. But he wasn’t under sanctions. And it was still dismissed despite Sauber making several mistakes too.

          1. @bascb It wasn’t dismissed; Giedo accepted a large settlement from Sauber (not sure of the exact amount, but it was almost as much as the sponsorship his replacement was said to have brought) to end the case. Although he still feels matters shouldn’t have gone far enough for courts or settlements to have been relevant in the first place…

          2. Thank you for correcting me there @alianora-la-canta. I forgot how messy all of it was (weren’t there at the time rumours that Bernie had worked to get him that settlement and shut up about it and never show himself in the pitlane again.)

          3. I heard that rumour but never saw either confirmation or denial.

  16. 1st, i doubt many of us are lawyers. 2nd, i doubt that any of the few that are lawyers have specific experience with contract law in whatever jurisdiction that dispute would fall in. Finally, none of us have actually read the contract to know what it says. It’s perfectly understandable for Uralkali to want their money back, but Haas may have a very good justification to keep it.

    1. @lancer033 Completely agree. The wording from Ukrali states that they feel the contract was canceled for political reasons. It leads me to believe that there is wording in the contract that allows Haas to keep the money in certain circumstances. Haas can make the case that they are the damaged party as they were fulfilling the contract until war broke out. If Haas has to give Ukrali the money back then Ukrali is not financially impacted by the war, only Haas. Ukrali didn’t start the war, as far as we know, so they are impacted by actions that they didn’t cause. Will be an interesting court case.

      1. @jimfromus Uralkali would be correct, the contract was entirely cancelled for political reasons… …a nation rendering a category of transaction illegal is generally considered a political act…

        1. Politics has a hand in it for sure, but that doesn’t mean that’s why the contract was canceled. If the US and/or UK government sanctions include Mazepin Sr, which i think they do at this point, then those sanctions may be political in nature but Haas as a private company has no choice but to follow them so it would fall under force majeure and whatever that section of the contract says (assuming there is one and i can’t believe there isn’t). Mazepin Jr’s seat with the team was tied to that sponsorship so when it left (no matter what the reason) so did he.

  17. I’m not sure how Uralkali expect the money to be physically returned at this point but from a commercial point of view it’s an expected gesture.

    However it’s just the latest in a series of questions which Haas’s time in F1 has raised. The US is the world’s largest economy. How is it, then, that a US team in a global sport which attracts aspirant rich folk from everywhere can’t get US funding? Can’t get US sponsors? Can’t get US drivers? Why is it that the “billionaire money” washing into the sport isn’t coming from the world’s largest source of billionaires?

    You would think that in a country where it’s easy to polarise opinion into “us vs them”, there would be a US source of funds which would be keen to step into the gap created by “those evil russkies” being moved out. But no, there’s nothing. And hasn’t been since the inception of the team or USF1.

    I don’t think it’s a problem specific to haas, but if drive to survive has brought in masses of US viewers, where is the money chasing after them?

    1. Firstly, I’d look to North America’s very healthy motorsport traditions. They’re popular in the USA (several were, by themselves, more popular than F1 before Drive to Survive – and some might still be) and lots of American drivers dream of making it big there. American sponsors have much proven success in catering specifically to North American markets through those series (which cost less money and more reliably result in American fans spending money on the advertised products/services). So not only is there a relative lack of drivers from the USA going to Europe, but there’s even less commercial interest following them because the marketing need is already satisfied by other, more targeted, cheaper series.

      Secondly, in the USA, motorsport doesn’t seem to be regarded as quite the “rich man’s sport” as it is elsewhere (stories abound of “regular folk” (read middle-class or upper-middle-class) who happen to attract lots of sponsorship doing well), and there is less appetite for those sports that are seen as “rich man’s sport”. Thus, there’s less appetite to lay down the necessary amount of capital into sports (at least, not to drive in them. Sometimes, sponsorship and team ownership is another matter, usually couched as being another part of business – which is of course the “rich man’s work”).

      Third, there’s a very different culture of racing in the USA and Europe. Both have their strong points, both have significant elements in common, but the important part is they’re very different. It takes a lot of commitment to absorb this, in much the same way that a European going to Japan would expect to need a lot of commitment to be successful in that very different racing culture.

      Fourth, we’re in uncertain financial times. We’ve just had one recession thanks to coronavirus, and there’s about to be another due to the war. Rich American businesses are unlikely to invest in short-notice speculative ventures at this time, no matter what the emotional appeal.

  18. The issue is likely very simple, there is going to be a termination clause in the contract that covers force majeure (which is a contract clause that removes liability for catastrophic events, such as natural disasters and warfare). So a court will look at this clause and what it states about termination and refunds. Not that complicated.

    Haas “may” owe a refund but with SWIFT shut down and other govt bans in place they would have no ability to refund.

    1. I’m certainly no expert, but I would guess the refund would be put on hold and executed when the conditions allow it? However, when Haas would go bankrupt in the meantime, would that cancel the refund?

      1. If a refund is owed, the fair method would be to put the funds in escrow. Given the current climate and Haas’s financial exposure I don’t see that happening.

    2. There is no force majeure. Haas is allowed to participate, Uralkali is allowed to sponsor a team, and Mazepin is allowed to race (provided he signs a statement in support of Ukraine, which he is prepared to do).
      Haas has no legal argument that they were forced to terminate the agreement.

      1. There is no force majeure.

        I don’t know the contract but you are most likely mistaken.
        It is to be expected that the Uralkali sponsorship deal was linked to having a certain driver in one the cars and a certain colour scheme on the cars. Said driver will not be able to compete the full season, and FIA has already banned certain colour schemes which the sponsor/team combination used until now.
        In such a case Haas cannot fulfil its obligations under the contract due to unforeseen circumstances out of its own control; we call that ‘force majeure’.

        You don’t know the details of the contract (neither do I) and we don’t know if what repayments (if any) need to be made in the case of force majeure.

        1. someone or something
          9th March 2022, 15:49

          You don’t know the details of the contract (neither do I)

          There’s a fine, but important distinction between reasonable doubt as a tool of critical thinking, and casting a smokescreen to avoid an undesirable conclusion from being reached …

          Your argument is wholly contructed.
          – The FIA didn’t ban the colour scheme, Haas decided against using it any longer.
          – Haas isn’t unable to fulfill contractual obligations because Mazepin wouldn’t have been able to participate in all rounds. He missed a race last year, through actual force majeure. The consequences: none. So not only is this argument extremely far-fetched, we even have direct proof of the opposite.
          – Even if the first two points were true (which they 100% aren’t, they’re made-up nonsense): None of this would void a contract. Colour scheme cannot be run because of rules imposed by international federations (which is pretty much the exact opposite of force majeure)? Alter it until it’s acceptable.
          A driver can’t take part in one race? Replace him.
          – Even if any of this were force majeure (which it 100% isn’t, it’s the semantic equivalent of mashed potatoes), none of it would void a contract. By and large, things that happen due to force majeure don’t count. Even if they go against a rule, as long as they’re due to force majeure, you get a pass (unless explicitly agreed otherwise). Force majeure that prevents one party from fulfilling every single obligation of its contract does NOT mean that party can just cry “Oo wee”, refrain from fulfilling any of the contractual obligations, and run with the money. That’s just absurd on so many levels, it almost makes Putin sound sane.

          1. You clearly have no legal or contractual background, and are even behind on some factual events:
            – FIA DID ban the colour scheme (https://www.fia.com/news/fia-published-circular-emergency-measures-due-russian-invasion-ukraine-driver-commitment)
            – ‘Not participating’ in a race is not the same as ‘not allowing to participate’.
            – The above will not VOID a contract but most likely (see my original reply) causes one party to not be able to FULFIL THE OBLIGATIONS as per the contract.
            – A force majeure clause determines what will happen when such an event occurs. A very typical clause will be that the contract will terminate with a certain procedure regarding payments made, services rendered, and goods delivered.
            The party that cannot fulfil its obligations (see 3rd bullet point) is wisely advised to seek to enforce a force majeure event rather than simply default on its contractual obligations and incur the contractual penalties.

            If you don’t believe me, then just check with any contractual lawyer, rather than making up your own truth.

          2. someone or something
            9th March 2022, 19:34

            Bold words for someone who has gone out of his way to make up whole new definitions for words as a basis for his own truth.
            I was behind on the ban on colour schemes, I’ll give you that. But even that was not a direct ban on the livery, and even if the FIA had given the thumbs down, I very much doubt that the contract explicitly demanded the car look like the Russian flag. Just like Ferrari’s contracts with PMI will never have said anything about having to subliminally remind spectators of boxes of Marlboro cigarettes.
            Yeah, we don’t know that. But assumptions and doubt are only useful to a certain extent, and when your hypothesis requires every aspect surrounding it to go full clown world for no good reason, it’s probably a rubbish hypothesis to begin with.

      2. @paeschli Uralkali might be allowed to attempt to sponsor a team, but with the current sanctions, it’s not allowed to give money to a company that resides in a country that’s sanctioning Uralkali (which is the case with Haas). This is why Haas was likely to be obliged to terminate the contract due to the actions of third parties. In UK law, this would be “termination through frustration”, is automatic in every contract (given it’s designed to cover situations where the contract suddenly becomes illegal to complete; one can’t legally compel someone to break the law) and not usually give rise to valid compensation claims in either direction (after all, the people involved in making the contract would have kept it if permitted).

        The Mazepins were entitled to find somewhere to race anywhere they wished until they got individual sanctions (and remain permitted to do so in non-sanctioned countries). Haas remains allowed to participate worldwide.

  19. Can’t believe how many people here are arguing Haas should just steal that money…

    1. someone or something
      9th March 2022, 15:26

      It’s crazy, right? I never had much faith in this site’s readership, but that faith is crashing faster than the ruble.

      1. Heck, we should be happy they’re not calling for the arrest and imprisonment of all Russians as was done to the Japanese during WWII. Crazy!

    2. I think Haas should abide by the contract and termination clause. Who gets to keep what will be laid out in the contract and by the jurisdiction stated in the contract.

      No one on this site knows the terms of the agreement. Hass may have been paid for car development or they may be paid on a per race basis or ????.

    3. @paeschli – I can’t believe people are focussing on whether one of Putin’s mates gets some sponsorship money back whilst the Russians blow up a Ukrainian maternity hospital….

      1. @petebaldwin I can, on the basis that people can concentrate on multiple things at once, especially when some of them are linked (after all, both are connected to the Russia-Ukraine war).

  20. They have no chance and no right to anything, certainly now both son and father have been put on the sanction list.

    Would have been easier for Haas to wait till they were put on the list but Haas certainly were justified kicking out the Russian sponsor and their driver. The Mazapins aren’t just any Russians, they are close to the Russian regime and Putin as now confirmed with them on the sanction list.

    There are plenty of Russian athletes I can feel sympathy for that they are maybe unjustified excluded from their sport due to the action of Putin, Nikita Mazapin is certainly not one of those athletes.

  21. Does Uralkali realise that even if it won the legal case, Haas would legally not be allowed to pay the resulting fine due to the sanctions currently in place?

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