Haas reject Uralkali’s sponsorship repayment request

Haas reject Uralkali’s sponsorship repayment request

April 19, 2022

American Formula One team Haas have rejected their former title sponsor Uralkali’s request for a refund of US$13 million. Haas earlier in March had cut ties with the Russian company because of the ties Dmitry Mazepin, firm’s owner, has with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The decision came during Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The termination of the deal also saw Dmitry Mazepin’s son Nikita Mazepin, who was signed by the team as a driver in 2021, lose his seat. Mazepin was replaced by former Haas driver Kevin Magnussen. Both the Mazepins were later sanctioned by the European Union.
Initially, after the termination of the partnership, Mazepin had asked for a full refund of the amount paid at the start of the 2021 season, which is when their partnership had started.

Uralkali had released a statement in March, stating:
“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 Russian firm had written to Haas to reconsider their decision to cancel the partnership and had requested a refund of US$13 million, which Uralkali had paid in advance. Reports have now emerged that Haas have formally replied to Uralkali’s request and have rejected the refund claims. Haas have stated that they have a right to terminate the partnership with Uralkali as part of a clause in their sponsorship agreement which states that “Uralkali does not injure, bring into dispute, ridicule, or lessen the public reputation, goodwill and favourable image of Haas”. Haas have also stated that the Russian firm’s owner’s ties with the Kremlin triggered the disrepute clause and their decision was taken accordingly.

Haas stated:
“According to unanimous legal scholars and case law, the party which terminates the agreement for breach of the other party is under no obligation to return to such party what it has already received under the agreement.
“The claim of Uralkali to obtain the re-payment of the down paid amount of EUR 12,000,000 is therefore ungrounded and rejected.”

Haas infact state that they have made a loss of US$8 million from Uralkali leaving their role as title sponsor, and the American racing team are looking to claim that amount back from the Russian firm. Haas have also stated that they wouldn’t be fulfilling the clause in the agreement that had Uralkali receiving Nikita Mazepin’s F1 car until the American team received their US$8 million payment.

Haas added:
“Unless and until the aforesaid amount will have been paid to Haas no obligation exists on Haas’ side to deliver and no delivery of the F1 car will occur.”

It is also reported that Haas will not be paying Mazepin’s salary for the period of the 2022 season Mazepin was with the team.
Neither Uralkali, the Mazepins or Haas have commented on the matter, and according to the ongoing developments, the matter will most likely be sorted out in court.
Haas, meanwhile, lie seventh in the Constructors’ standings and will be looking to add to their points tally of 12 in Imola later this weekend.

Aditya Chaudhuri

Hailing from the City of Joy, the things that bring me joy are cricket, a good non-tilt CS:GO session, F1 and movies.

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