Haas F1 team drops Russian flag-inspired colors from cars
The Haas Formula One team will not race in its distinctive Russian flag-themed colors for the final day of pre-season testing in Barcelona on Friday.
Branding for Uralkali, the Russian potash fertiliser company which is the key sponsor of the American-owned team, will not appear on the VF-22 car at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, where Russian driver Nikita Mazepin is part of the Haas team.
Mazepin has raced for Haas since 2021. His father, Russian businessman Dmitry Mazepin, owns Uralkali.
The 22-year-old is due to race on Friday morning as scheduled, with teammate Mick Schumacher – the son of Formula One legend Michael Schumacher – following in the afternoon session.
Making the announcement after Russia started a military operation in Ukraine, Haas said in a statement: "Haas F1 Team will present its VF-22 in a plain white livery, minus Uralkali branding, for the third and final day of track running at Circuit de Barcelona on Friday 25 February."
Racing teams will reportedly meet Formula One CEO Stefano Domenicali on Friday evening to discuss their concerns. The 2022 Russian Grand Prix, scheduled for September, is said to be in doubt.
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has said he will not race in Russia. “My own opinion is I should not go – I will not go,” said the Aston Martin star.
“I think it’s wrong to race in that country. I woke up again after this morning’s news, shocked. I think it’s horrible to see what is happening.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner also suggested that a race in Russia was not feasible.
“I can’t see how we can go possibly to Russia in the current climate,” he said.
“It’s an issue for the governing body and the commercial rights holder that are responsible but how much can things change between now and September?”