Haas F1 team to drop Russian partner Uralkali’s branding from car
US-owned Formula One team Haas will remove Russian potash producer Uralkali’s branding from its car and run it in an all-white livery on the final day of Barcelona testing on Friday, the team said, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Haas have run their cars in a Russian flag livery with Uralkali stickers since last season as part of a title sponsorship deal, which has secured funding for the team and seen company owner and billionaire Dmitry Mazepin’s son Nikita signed to a race seat.
The team said the 22-year-old Russian, who races alongside Mick Schumacher and drove on the opening two days of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, will take part in the morning session on Friday as planned.
“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, 25 February,” the outfit said in a statement on Thursday.
“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.
Russia launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, sea and air on Thursday.
Formula One, which has the Russian Grand Prix on its calendar pencilled in for Sep 25, said it was “closely watching” the “fluid developments” in Ukraine.
Earlier on Thursday, four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel told a news conference that he would not take part in the Russian Grand Prix if it went ahead.
World champion Max Verstappen said racing in a country at war was “not correct”.
Haas boss Guenther Steiner was also scheduled to appear in a team principals’ news conference on Thursday but withdrew.
Mazepin’s post-session media commitments were cancelled.
Formula One teams are set to meet with Formula One chief executive Stefano Domenicali on Thursday evening to discuss the situation.
Jost Capito, team principal of the US-owned Williams team, said he trusted the governing FIA and commercial rights holder Formula One Management to make the right decision.
“There are other sporting events ahead, when you see the Champions League final in St Petersburg, what’s happening there,” he said.
“I think sports should be aligned in what reaction they show.”
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