Nikita Mazepin’s F1 future in doubt after Haas remove branding of key Russian sponsor

Haas ran a ‘plain white’ livery on its car at F1 pre-season testing while team principal Guenther Steiner admitted the Russian’s future in the sport was out of his hands

Jamie Braidwood
Friday 25 February 2022 17:04 GMT
‘I support sports without politics’: Nikita Mazepin believes Russian race will go ahead

Nikita Mazepin’s future in Formula One is in doubt after Haas removed the branding of Russian sponsor Uralkali from its car following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Haas principal Guenther Steiner said a decision would be made next week of whether the team would drop Uralkali, which was founded by Mazepin’s father Dmitry and has links to Russian president Vladimir Putin, and said Mazepin’s own future with the team was out of his hands.

It comes after Formula One confirmed the Russian Grand Prix would be cancelled this season with the race “impossible to hold in the current circumstances” amid Putin’s attack on Ukraine this week.

After Haas ran a “plain white” livery at Formula One’s testing session in Barcelona, with the Russian colours and Uralkali branding removed from the car’s exterior, Steiner told Sky Sports: “There are legal matters involved which we will solve next week.

“We have discussed it [with Dmitry and Nikita] but I cannot discuss any details. No government has been in contact with us. We took charge of the decision ourselves.”

When asked directly about Mazepin’s future with the team, Steiner said: “At the moment we want to continue but there are external things that could happen that I am not in control of.

“He was here testing this morning and in the moment, he is planned to be in Bahrain. If external sanctions come in place we will have to obey to them but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.”

Mazepin, who did not score a championship point on his debut season with Haas, took to Twitter shortly after Steiner's comments and the cancellation of the Russian Grand Prix.

“To my fans and followers - it’s a difficult time and I am not in control over a lot of what is being said and done,” he said. “I’m choosing to focus on what I CAN control by working hard and doing my best for my Haas. My deepest thanks for your understanding and support.”

Uralkali became the title sponsor of Haas last season and played a crucial role in the team remaining on the grid ahead of the 2021 campaign, with Mazepin announced as a driver alongside Mick Schumacher soon after.

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