New F1 car accused of being ‘too Russian’
Formula One fans have criticized Haas' new car design for the upcoming season, arguing it is too identical to its predecessor and boasted a color scheme that is too Russian.
Haas is the first team to release images of its new vehicle, the VF-22, for the 2022 campaign which gets underway in Bahrain next month.
"It's that time of year where you're naturally optimistic that the hard work and effort of everyone will translate to a competitive entry on track," said owner and founder Gene Haas.
"We made the decision back in 2020 to really channel time and resources into the VF-22, foregoing anything track-related for 2021, which wasn't easy to watch. Hopefully that decision bears fruit and we return to challenging for points and taking something from the weekends."
But not everyone shares Haas' enthusiasm for the new design.
"[It's an] American team isn't it? What's with all the Russian stuff?" someone asked about the choice of colors.
"I'm pretty sure that the colors of [the] USA are blue, red and white, which are exactly the colors of this car," came a reply, before a separate party added: "Yeah, but let's be honest, the irony of an American team car painted with Russian flags isn't gonna wear off!"
I'm pretty sure that the colours of USA are blue, red and white, which are exactly the colours of this car.— ShionShinigami (@shionshinigami) February 4, 2022
American team isnt it? whats with all the russian stuff then— will5023 (@will5023) February 4, 2022
Yeah, but let's be honest, the irony of an American team car painted with Russian flags isn't gonna wear off! 🤣— Jamie House (@Jimmer211993) February 4, 2022
Could it *BE* more Russian?— Drubkowski (@PaweDrubkowski) February 4, 2022
Others brought up Russian Haas racer Nikita Mazepin, with his father Dmitry owner of the Uralkali company that is one of the racing outfit's biggest sponsors.
Another common deduction was that Mazepin cannot race under the Russian flag due to WADA doping row sanctions, making the new design a way he can show his patriotism. But the colors are in fact a mix of Haas' traditional white and Uralkali's red and blue.
When asked if he was worried about the car being painted with the colors of the Russian flag as tensions rise with Ukraine, Haas team principal Steiner insisted: "We are not involved in politics."
"Of course, like everyone else, we are watching everything that is happening in the world right now," Steiner conceded.
"If there are any difficulties, we will deal with them. But I'm glad we're not involved in any of that right now. And now we can’t do anything about it," he concluded.
It's because Mazepin's father owns the company that is the team's main sponsor, UralKali— WonderBoyGaming (@WonderBoyGaming) February 4, 2022
It’s because they’re main sponsors are Uraikali which is a Russian company and they fund most of the team so they have a say in car design— Moriero Kesse Günter (@k_morriero) February 4, 2022
Additional complainers said designs from 2021 and 2022 were too similar.
"Haas really just reapplied the same livery to the 2022 car and called it a day," remarked a critic.
"It's even worse than last year," scoffed another.
😀 Haas really just reapplied the same livery to the 2022 car and called it a day.— Ravi S. (@RaviBeingRavi) February 4, 2022
Its the same lmao— Selim🏁 (@PAPASELIM) February 4, 2022
"Now post the 2022 one," demanded a joker.
Yet amid all the pointing Spiderman and updated Japanese flag design memes, Haas' two drivers – Mazepin and Mick Schumacher – voiced their approval on social media.
now post the 2022 one— Luca (@LooKATheLucky) February 4, 2022
"My ride everyone," said the German son of all-time great Michael Schumacher, as Mazepin wrote: "2022 has arrived" alongside a flame emoji.
Before the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 18-20, the youngsters will first be able to test the new car in a preseason track session in Barcelona three weeks from now prior to heading to the Persian Gulf for similar purposes.