For some this turn of events would have been a long time coming. Nikita Mazepin came into F1 with the baggage and general disdain of the majority of Formula 1 fans for being a pay driver; benefitting from his father’s sponsorship of Haas. Subsequent sexual assault scandals and clashes with nearly every driver on at one point or another; not least of all his team-mate.
One might have felt sorry for Team Principal Guenther Steiner & owner Gene Haas for having to deal with constant calls to drop the Russian or his father’s sponsorship. Russian athletes were forced to compete under a neutral flag because of a doping scandal; so the suspiciously Russian themed livery was next to have fans up in arms. With the Russian “Special Military Operation” taking place these calls only intensified.
The FIA was criticised for taking a slow and measured approach to dealing with Russians as the crisis unfolded; with the latest decision being as close to a full Russian ban as possible. Haas for its part had already removed URALKALI branding for its final day of testing in Barcelona. However given Russia’s continued offensive and ever-increasing sanctions, it was doubtful that Mazepin would be able to secure VISA’s to compete in the majority of races this season. Certainly not at the scrapped Sochi Grand Prix.
Its on this backdrop that Haas have officially decided to cut all ties with the Mazepins. Writing on their social media platform has said:
Haas F1 Team has elected to terminate, with immediate effect, the title partnership of Uralkali, and the driver contract of Nikita Mazepin. As with the rest of the Formula 1 community, the team is shocked and saddened by the invasion of Ukraine and wishes for a swift and peaceful end to the conflict.HaasF1Team
Speaking in Barcelona Steiner had said “Financially we are okay. It has no [implication] on the team, how we are running it or how we’re doing, how we planned this season. There are more ways to get the funding so that there’s no issue with that one.”
With increased interest in Formula 1 after last season’s amazing and controversial title fight; there will likely be no shortage of new sponsors willing to come in to replace Uralkali.