The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is investigating if the Haas F1 Team’s recently unveiled 2021 livery is in violation of the two-year ban on Russian athletes competing under the Russian flag.
“WADA is aware of this matter and is looking into it with the relevant authorities,” the international doping watchdog told Formula1News.co.uk on Friday.
The livery in question is based on the colours of the Russian flag, arranged in a way to resemble the flag itself on many parts of the car, especially the front-wing.
This raised eyebrows immediately after the livery was unveiled on Thursday, as the Court of Arbitration for Sport had announced a two-year ban for Russian athletes at world championship sporting events in December.
The ban, which relates to state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics and was imposed following a WADA investigation, means that Russian athletes, including racing drivers, won’t be allowed to compete under their national flag or have it on display at official events.
Haas rookie Nikita Mazepin – whose father’s firm was announced as the title sponsor of the team as it unveiled its 2021 livery – is the only F1 driver who will be affected by the ban this upcoming season.
Speaking shortly after the American racing outfit unveiled its controversial livery, team principal Guenther Steiner insisted that it had been designed prior to the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s December ruling.
Steiner defended the livery and said that while they haven’t spoken to the FIA about it, they are confident it isn’t in violation of the aforementioned ban.
“No, we didn’t circumvent anything,” Steiner said.
“We came up with this livery already last year before all of this came out from WADA about the Russian flag.
“Obviously we cannot use the Russian flag as the Russian flag, but you can use colours on a car. In the end, it’s the athlete which cannot display the Russian flag and not the team. The team is an American team.”
As Mazepin won’t be allowed to compete as a Russian athlete, it is likely he will race as a “neutral athlete from Russia”, though he said on Thursday that he is yet to make a final decision on how exactly he wants to be classified.
The contents of this article can only be reused and republished by other media outlets in accordance with our Copyright Policy.