For the final day of the pre-season track practice in Barcelona, Haas has revealed that their car will run in a pure white livery.
Haas F1 team has revealed that it will conclude pre-season testing in Barcelona with an all-white livery after removing the Uralkali brand and Russian colors from its VF-22 chassis.
The move comes as Russia and Ukraine escalated their hostilities, with the former entering its neighboring country early on Thursday morning.
The Haas cars have sported a color scheme based on the Russian national flag’s white, blue, and red since the start of the 2021 Formula One season, with the front wing displaying the same sequential order.
That means the VF-22 will be ditching the branding of primary sponsor Uralkali in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has been denounced by world leaders.
Dmitry Mazepin, the father of driver Nikita, owns the company, which is a Russian potash fertiliser producer and exporter.
Dmitry Mazepin has been a financial supporter of the team since his son was confirmed as a race driver at the start of last season. As a result of the 53-year-cooperation, old’s the team overhauled the livery of its car, which now sports the Russian flag’s white, blue, and red colors.
Given the sensitivity of the conflict that has erupted, Haas has acted diplomatically and correctly by releasing a statement that read: “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 – Catalunya on Friday 25 February.”
“Nikita Mazepin will drive as planned in the morning session with Mick Schumacher taking over in the afternoon. No further comment will be made at this time regarding team partner agreements.”
As an American company, Haas is likely to have been forced to shed its Russian identity and branding as part of the US’ sanction package against Russia, which, when combined with the European Union’s own broad raft of sanctions, includes Russian banks being barred from accessing the Western financial system and conducting cross-border transactions.
It’s unclear whether Haas’ move signals the end of its deal with Uralkali, but if it does, that may spell financial disaster for the Formula One team. It also casts question on Nikita Mazepin’s future in Formula 1.
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali was scheduled to meet with F1 team bosses to address the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and its potential impact on F1 and the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi next September.