This week the FIA and F1 have agreed to cancel the Russian Grand Prix scheduled in September. This is in response to the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine which has received condemnation and backlash from various world leaders.
Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali met with the 10 team leaders last week to discuss what to do. The race was originally scheduled for September 25th, and multiple racers had spoken out about not participating in the race prior to Formula 1’s decision.
Could F1 be leaving room to backtrack?
Many people are interested in the phrasing of the announcement by Formula 1. The statement was this:
We are watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock and hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation. On Thursday evening Formula 1, the FIA, and the teams discussed the position of our sport, and the conclusion is, including the view of all relevant stakeholders, that it is impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix in the current circumstances.“
“In the current circumstances”… does that mean Formula 1 and its front office are trying to leave room to come back to Russia if the conflict is resolved?
The promoter of the Russian Grand Prix seems to think so.
“The purchased tickets are not canceled. There is no need to get refunds for them now because it is still possible that the round will take place and will be held as previously scheduled.” – Ano Rosgonki, promoter company of Russian Grand Prix
However many sources close to Formula 1 officials have contradicted his claim. They say that the Russian Grand Prix will be replaced with another race, and that F1 will have no issue pulling it off.
What is happening with Haas?
As some of you may have read in my previous article, Haas is a team with ties directly to Russia. Their main sponsor Uralkili’s colors are that of the Russian flag, and Haas has already stripped both the colors and Uralkili’s name off of their car.
It is undecided at the moment what will happen with the design of the car. Haas had released their new livery just about a month ago and will now have to figure out what to do with their car for the rest of the season.
Haas now has problems all over their garage. Ignore the fact that their drivers have combined for three total points in the past two seasons, there’s still the livery to worry about, as well as driver Nikita Mazepin’s ties to Russia.
Mazepin is the son of Uralkili’s owner Dmitry Mazepin, who has direct ties to Vladmir Putin. It is very likely that Uralkili and Haas will cut ties soon, meaning Nikita will be unlikely to drive for the team this season.
With the first round of pre-season testing just having wrapped up, Haas now will have to change their livery, find a new sponsor, and find a new driver before the season starts. Preseason testing round two will begin March tenth in Bahrain, one week before the Bahrain Grand Prix opens the season on March 18th.
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