American F1 Racing Team Cuts Ties with Russian Sponsor, Driver Due to Ukraine Invasion
Haas Formula One racing team formally announced on Friday morning they would be immediately be cutting its ties with Russian driver Nikita Mazepin and his sponsor Uralkali for the team during the 2022 season following Russia’s attacks on Ukraine.
“Haas F1 team has elected to terminate, with immediate effect, the title partnership of Uralkali, and the driver contract of Nikita Mazepin,” the team said via social media. “As with the rest of the Formula One community, the team is shocked and saddened by the invasion of Ukraine and wishes for a swift and peaceful end to the conflict.”
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) March 5, 2022
The decision from Haas and its associates comes after the FIA, the governing body of motorsports, decided to allow Russian/Belarusian drivers to compete under an “FIA flag” instead of their country’s. If the driver agrees to it, the move would have the effect of removing visible links to Russia.
Mazepin, who said he was willing to sign the commitment to keep racing in F1, released a statement via Twitter shortly following the announcement from Haas — which effectively dropped him as a driver from the American team.
“I am very disappointed to hear that my F1 contract has been terminated,” Mazepin said to his fans and followers. “While I understand the difficulties, the ruling from FIA plus my ongoing willingness to accept the conditions proposed in order to continue were completely ignored and no process was followed in this unilateral step.”
— Nikita Mazepin (@nikita_mazepin) March 5, 2022
The F1 driver added: “To those who have tried to understand, my eternal thanks. I have treasured my time in F1 and genuinely hope we can all be together again in better times. I will have more to say in the coming days. Nikita.”
During the final day of pre-season testing in Barcelona last week, the team also removed the branding and sponsorship from its cars in addition to the team’s transporters, motorhome, and media platforms.
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) February 25, 2022
According to Racer.com, the team has yet to announce a replacement for the driver or their sponsor, but the team is expected to decide on its driver line-up at the start of next week ahead of the final pre-season test in Bahrain.
Last month, following a teleconference meeting between F1, the FIA, and team principals, an announcement was made that F1 would not hold the 2022 F1 Russian Grand Prix in Sochi scheduled for September 23-25 following Russia’s attacks on Ukraine.
In a statement, F1 said that the race was “impossible to hold” because of the “current circumstances” with Russia.
Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter.