Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has insisted that Nikita Mazepin will not be favoured over Mick Schumacher, despite his father’s company recently being announced as their title sponsor.
“Uralkali is the main sponsor, but with no rights to an advantage. It doesn’t exist. It’s not sporting and we don’t participate in it, I stand by that,” Steiner said.
The Haas F1 Team will receive tens of millions of dollars per year from Uralkali – a Russian potash producer and exporter which is owned by Nikita’s father, Dmitry Mazepin – via a sponsorship deal that was announced earlier this month.
“We look forward to representing their brand throughout the season. It’s an exciting time for the team with Uralkali coming onboard and having Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher driving for us,” team owner Gene Haas said as they announced the title sponsorship deal.
The Haas F1 Team prompted a WADA investigation after they unveiled their 2021 livery on 4 March, as it is based on the colours of the Russian flag and was interpreted by some as an attempt to circumvent the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) December ruling.
Specifically, the ruling banned Russian athletes at world championship sporting events for two years as punishment for doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The “Russian livery” is widely believed to be linked to Uralkali’s sponsorship of the team and Nikita Mazepin joining them as a driver.
Earlier this week, a source claimed that WADA had concluded its investigation, but the international doping watchdog told Formula1News.co.uk on Tuesday that it is still looking into the matter.
“WADA has not yet concluded its enquiries in relation to this and no decision has yet been taken,” the organisation said in a statement.