Haas remove Russian sponsor’s branding from car, Steiner comments on team’s future

Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine on Thursday morning, leading Haas to drop its Russian title sponsor.

Haas have removed all Uralkali branding from their cars, motorhomes and trucks following the rapid escalation of tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

The Russian potash producer company became a name partner of the Banbury outfit at the beginning of last year, funding Nikita Mazepin’s drive as a rookie with the team as his father, Dmitry, owns part of the firm.

After weeks of placing troops on the Ukrainian border, president Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Russia’s neighbour earlier this week, prompting international condemnation.

Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel were quick to speak out on the crisis, with the German confirming that he will boycott the 2022 Russian Grand Prix should it go ahead, while the 24-year-old insisted that Formula 1 should not be racing in countries that are at war.

Haas pulled team principal Guenther Steiner from his media duties yesterday amid the invasion of Ukraine, and the team have now confirmed that they are dropping all Uralkali branding, meaning that they are ran an all-white livery on the final day of the first pre-season test in Barcelona.

“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 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.”

UEFA are set to strip St Petersburg of its hosting rights of this year’s Champions League Final, and Williams CEO and team principal Jost Capito insists that F1 should follow suit and cancel the Sochi race scheduled for September.

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“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.”

Meanwhile, Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has said they will meet with Uralkali to discuss the situation, but stressed the team’s future is secure.

Mazepin said yesterday that he does not mix “sport and politics,” earning him criticism, particularly from Jeremy Clarkson.