Thursday, April 7, 2022

ESPN has a lot of details about how Formula One's Haas team severed its relationship with its Russian financial backer after the invasion of Ukraine


Dmitry Mazepin, the man whose company had effectively saved Haas and kept the team in F1 at the start of 2021 by becoming its biggest financial backer, had started the week at the Barcelona circuit watching his son Nikita drive during a promotional filming day for the team. By Thursday, he was at the Kremlin meeting Russian president Vladimir Putin and a handful of other Russian business leaders.


Team owner Gene Haas and his F1 team boss Guenther Steiner had been at the circuit together when they saw the first news reports of the invasion, which had begun in the early hours of the morning, at 5 a.m. Spanish time. To Haas, it was immediately obvious what the ramifications would be for his F1 team.


Mazepin's name appeared alongside his father's on a fresh list of sanctioned Russians.

"I truly was surprised to see myself there," Mazepin told ESPN. "I think it's fair to say that I understand why some people think I should be sanctioned. But I don't agree with it.


Given the team's track record, it's likely there will be added scrutiny around Haas' next choice of title partner. Uralkali is not the first company Haas has had to suddenly cut ties with. In 2018, the team signed a title sponsorship deal with Rich Energy, fronted by the erratic and eccentric William Storey, but the deal fell apart midway through the season amid missed payments

(More on Rich Energy.)