Haas splits with Mazepin, Uralkali

Nikita Mazepin

Haas has officially cut ties with driver Nikita Mazepin and naming rights sponsor Uralkali in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The widely anticipated announcement comes less than a fortnight out from the start of the season-opening event, the 2022 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix.

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

“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 American-registered outfit has not yet announced a replacement, although Pietro Fittipaldi is considered the front-runner.

Haas had wasted little time in removing Uralkali branding from its cars during pre-season testing at Barcelona last month.

Uralkali is part-owned by Dmitry Mazepin, the father of Nikita and a known associate of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Nikita Mazepin was a controversial presence on the F1 grid, by virtue of his pay driver status, some off-track antics before he had even debuted, and a tendency to find trouble in his first few events which earnt him the nickname ‘Mazespin’.

He recorded a best finish of 14th last year at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in a season where Haas went scoreless.

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