Haas sack Mazepin and end Uralkali F1 sponsorship

The Haas Formula 1 team has announced it has split with Nikita Mazepin and Russian title sponsor Uralkali with immediate effect. 
Haas sack Mazepin and end Uralkali F1 sponsorship

Mazepin and Uralkali’s future with Haas had been placed in serious doubt following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Haas removed the branding and colours of its Russian sponsor and ran its VF-22 car in a plain white livery for the final day of the opening test at Barcelona. 

In the week that has followed, Western countries have imposed major economic sanctions on Russia, while sporting bodies have moved to distance themselves from the country. 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) called for Russian and Belarusian athletes to be prevented from competing in international events, although the FIA decided to allow Russian competitors provided they participate in a neutral capacity.

In an update on Friday, the FIA outlined that Russian drivers would be required to sign a document forbidding them from supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin's war on Ukraine in order to race. 

SEE ALSO: Who would replace Mazepin at Haas?

Under pressure to act, Haas confirmed on Saturday morning that it had terminated Mazepin’s contract and its sponsorship deal with Uralkali, which is co-owned by Dmitry Mazepin, who is a close associate of Putin. 

“Haas F1 Team has elected to terminate, with immediate effect, the title partnership of Uralkali and the driver contract of Nikita Mazepin,” said a team statement.

“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.”

It is understood that the split from Uralkali does not put the American outfit’s future in F1 at risk, with team principal Guenther Steiner insisting the team would be financially secure, even if the sponsorship deal ended. 

Haas is expected to be announce Mazepin's replacement early next week, ahead of the second pre-season test in Bahrain on March 10-12. 

Reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi, who has already made two F1 starts for Haas, would be an obvious choice, while former Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi has also been linked with the seat.

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