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Haas shun Uralkali branding for F1 testing

February 25, 2022

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Decision comes amidst the global crisis.

American Formula One team Haas have dropped their title sponsor Uralkali’s branding for the final day of the pre-season testing in Barcelona. The decision comes after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The team released a statement, which read:

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.

No further comment will be made at this time regarding team partner agreements.

Uralkali, a leading Russian potash fertiliser producer, was announced as Haas’ title sponsor ahead of the 2021 season in March 2021. Dmitry Mazepin, who is a key shareholder in the company, has his son Nikita racing for the team. 

The Haas challenger’s livery is red, white and blue in colour which also resembles the Russian flag. 

Both Nikita Mazepin and Haas team boss Gunther Steiner’s press conferences were cancelled on Thursday. 

On 24 February, Thursday morning, Russian president Vladimir Putin launched a military attack on Ukraine, and his decision to go to war with Ukraine has been met with worldwide criticism. Also, the result of Putin’s decision isn’t clear on the impact it will have on the sporting events in Russia. Several Formula One drivers and team principals have raised questions about hosting the Russian Grand Prix in September later this year.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has already confirmed that he will not be attending the race in Russia even if it went ahead.

The German racer for Aston Martin stated:

My own opinion is I should not go, I will not go. I think it’s wrong to race in that country. I’m sorry for the people, innocent people who are losing their lives, getting killed for stupid reasons under a very strange and mad leadership.

I woke up again after this morning’s news, shocked. I think it’s horrible to see what is happening.

Vettel’s former team boss and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner also spoke about the current situation, commenting:

I can’t see how we can possibly go to Russia in the current climate.

It’s an issue for the governing body and the commercial rights holders that are responsible but how much can things change between now and September?

Current Drivers’ champion Max Verstappen also echoed the same sentiments, saying:

When a country is at war, it is not right to race there.

The Russian Grand Prix, which is held at the Sochi Autodrom, currently still remains on the calendar, scheduled to be held on September 25. The FIA and Formula One are yet to make a decision about the future of the race.

Formula One released a statement on the situation, stating:

Formula 1 is closely watching the very fluid developments like many others and at this time has no further comment on the race scheduled for September. We will continue to monitor the situation very closely.

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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