Uralkali ‘seek repayment’ of 2022 funding from Haas

Uralkali were dropped by Haas as a title sponsor following Russia's war on neighbouring Ukraine.

Uralkali have asked Haas to repay the money that they have already given them for the 2022 season after they were dropped as a name partner.

The Russia-based firm is part owned by Dmitry Mazepin, and the sponsorship deal funded his son Nikita’s seat in Formula 1 in 2021.

The partnership was set to continue into 2022, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem to meet with other members of the governing body and conclude that Russian and Belarusian branding was prohibited from the sport.

Haas had already removed Uralkali branding from their cars, trucks and motorhomes before this ruling, and heavy sanctions imposed on Russia by multiple world leaders was detrimental to Uralkali’s position as a sponsor of the Banbury-based squad.

They were dropped as a result and Mazepin’s contract was consequently terminated, with the company recently confirming the developments.

“Uralkali, one of the world’s largest potash producers, and also the title sponsor of Uralkali Haas F1 Team, hereby announces that it was advised by the Team of their unilateral termination of the sponsorship agreement with Uralkali due to the current geopolitical situation,” they said in a statement.

“Uralkali has been for many years contributing considerably towards global food security and providing significant assistance to a whole range of sports associations, organizations and events both in Russia and abroad.”

They then suggested that politics should not become intertwined with sports, expressing their disappointment at Gene Haas’ decision.

“The Company views the Team’s decision as unreasonable and believes that sports should always be free of politics and pressure from external factors,” they continued, before asking the team to reimburse them for the money they have already paid in for 2022.

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“Given the above, Uralkali intends to protect its interests in line with applicable legal procedures and reserves its rights to initiate judicial proceedings, claim damages and seek repayment of the significant amounts Uralkali had paid for the 2022 Formula 1 season,” they added.

“As most of the sponsorship funding for the 2022 season has already been transferred to Haas and given that the Team terminated the sponsorship agreement before the first race of the 2022 season, Haas has thus failed to perform its obligations to Uralkali for this year’s season. 

“Uralkali shall request the immediate reimbursement of the amounts received by Haas.

“The refund from Haas and the remaining part of Uralkali’s sponsor financing for 2022 will be used to establish the We Compete As One athlete support foundation.”

Kevin Magnussen will replace Mazepin at the team in 2022, it has been confirmed.