By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
With Russia invading Ukraine causing a worldwide uproar, Haas F1 Team announced Saturday they’ll be cutting ties with Russian sponsor Uralkali and Russian driver Nikita Mazepin effective immediately.
Over a week ago, the American-based team tested in Barcelona with the fully branded Russian colored livery and sponsor. Once the invasion began, all there was left was a plain white car with Haas and 1&1 being the only sponsors in the Ferrari-powered car.
Haas F1 issued the following statement regarding its termination with Uralkali and 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.”
The termination ended not just the team’s main sponsorship income, but also Mazepin’s tenure in Formula One after just one season. In 21 starts, the polarizing driver failed to score a single point with his best finish being 14th in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last June.
He missed the final round of the world championship in Abu Dhabi due to testing positive for COVID-19. Therefore, his final grand prix race with Haas was in Saudi Arabia where his race was cut short after being involved in a multi-car accident.
Now without a ride, Mazepin also issued a statement on social media regarding his termination from Haas:
“I am very disappointed to hear that my F1 contract has been terminated. While I understand the difficulties, the ruling from FIA plus my ongoing willingness to accept the conditions proposed in order to continue were completely ignored and process was followed in this unilateral step.
“To those who have tried to understand, my eternal thanks. I have treasured my time in F1 and genuinely hope we can all be together again in better times. I have more to say in the coming days.”
Saturday’s announcement is the latest set of news related to Russia. Formula One have already canceled this year’s Russian Grand Prix and will no longer head to the Sochi Autodrom in the foreseeable future.
As for Mazepin’s replacement, no word on who’ll take over the second Haas seat and become Mick Schumacher’s new full-time teammate. For now, the Bahrain Grand Prix, which kicks-off the Formula One season, will commence without Mazepin in two weeks.