The invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops has also left considerable repercussions in the world of Formula 1, with the American team Haas which has taken important measures, unilaterally terminating the contracts that bound it to the Uralkalithe main sponsor of the team and the driver Nikita Mazepin. It is no mystery that his father Dmitry, majority shareholder and president of the Russian company, one of the world’s largest producers of potassium, is one of the oligarchs very close to Vladimir Putin. The FIA and Formula 1 had opened a window of possibility for Russian and Belarusian drivers, allowing them to race as ‘neutral’ and subject to the acceptance of a document where they essentially dissociated themselves from what is happening and in favor of peace. But Haas did not take this possibility into consideration, decisively taking the path of excluding Mazepin and Uralkali.
Today Nikita Mazepin announced the intention to create one foundation in support of athletes excluded due to nationality, called We Compete As One. The initiative will be clearly financed by Uralkali, for a topic dear to the former Haas driver, who already at the Sochi GP in 2021 had worn a helmet depicting the names of Russian medal-winning athletes who had competed in the Olympics without nationality, for via the well-known doping case. In the press conference Mazepin did not want to answer questions about the ongoing conflict, focusing only on his own situation: “I deserved more support from the team. There are no legal reasons for terminating the contract. I was hoping to race after the opening of the FIA, but everything changed and I lost the dream I worked for for 18 years ”.
For its part, Uralkali issued a harsh statement against the unilateral Haas decision: “We consider the team’s decision unreasonable and believe that sport should be free from politics and external pressures. We intend to protect our interests, in line with applicable legal procedures and reserve the right to initiate legal proceedings, asking for damages and reimbursement of the amounts significant that Uralkali had already paid for the 2022 season. As most of the funding had already been transferred to Haas and the team terminated the contract before the championship opening race, Haas failed to fulfill its obligations to Uralkali for the current season “.
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