Schumacher urges Haas to cut all ties with Russia

Reports have suggested that Nikita Mazepin is set to be replaced at Haas as the team's partnership with Uralkali appears in jeopardy.

Former Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher insists that the Haas needs to sever its ties with Russia amid country’s invasion of Ukraine, and suggests that there would be sponsors willing to fill the void.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine last week, and over a million civilians have been displaced as a result of the war.

Immediately after the invasion began last Thursday, Haas took the decision to remove Uralkali branding from their cars, trucks and motorhomes as Dmitry Mazepin – Nikita’s father – part owns the Russia-based company and has ties to Putin.

Should Haas’ contract with Uralkali come to an end, it could leave Mazepin without a drive for the 2022 season, and reports have already suggested that he has been replaced by Pietro Fittipaldi.

Team principal Guenther Steiner has previously suggested that the team will be able to cope without Uralkali’s funding, and Schumacher – uncle of Mick, who also drives for Haas – believes they need to end their relationship with them immediately.

“This complete separation has to happen now,” he told Sky Germany.

“On the one hand is all this external pressure, and Haas is also an American team. Gunther Steiner says the team is financially solid and I can imagine one or two sponsors coming around the corner.

“I think the team will manage to close the gap.”

Haas were asked about the possibility of either Fittipaldi or former Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi taking the 23-year-old’s seat, but they were tight-lipped.

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“We haven’t published any statement or comment. If someone reports something, it’s just speculation,” they told RTL.

Formula 1 itself has since cancelled the Russian Grand Prix that was due to be held in September, and ended its contract with race promoters in the country.

“Formula 1 can confirm it has terminated its contract with the Russian Grand Prix promoter,” read a statement.

“It means that Russia will no longer have a race in the future.”

This eradicates plans to hold a race in St Petersburg from next year and Alexander Vlasov, vice governor of the Krasnodar region in which Sochi is located, maintains that politics should be kept out of sport.

“Sport has always been out of politics because sporting events unite people, countries and continents,” he told Tass news agency.

“But now, to please western politicians, unreasonable sanctions are being imposed on Russia in the form of exclusion of our sports federations, removal of Russian athletes from participation in international competitions, and termination of our Formula 1 contract.”

He opines that they will have no problem attracting alternative competitions to the Sochi Autodrom.

“I’m sure that many other interesting competitions will be held at [the] Sochi Autodrom with the support of the government and lovers of Russian auto and motorcycle racing,” he added.

Motorsport UK has already confirmed, in contrast with the FIA’s ruling, that no Russian or Belarusian athletes are permitted to take part in events in the country, and other governing bodies are reported to be considering following suit.