Haas won’t only be late to F1’s Bahrain testing this week, but now it’s been confirmed that the American-owned team is being sued by its title sponsor Uralkali after an “unreasonable” termination of its sponsorship contract.
Haas terminated its contract with its sponsor Uralkali after the building tension surrounding the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Since then, the team also removed driver Nikita Mazepin from its lineup for 2022, and while fans were very happy to hear about these changes, Uralkali is now threatening a legal battle.
“There was a lot of intense criticism about the Ukrainian invasion and it was just getting overwhelming,” team owner Gene Haas told the press at the time.
“We can’t deal with all that, our other sponsors can’t deal with all that.”
But Uralkali has now responded to this, deeming the termination to be “unreasonable”, arguing that racing should “always be free of politics and pressure from external factors”.
“Given the above, Uralkali intends to protect its interests in line with applicable legal procedures and reserves its rights to initiate judicial proceedings, claim damages and seek repayment of the significant amounts Uralkali had paid for the 2022 Formula One season.
“As most of the sponsorship funding for the 2022 season has already been transferred to Haas and given that the Team terminated the sponsorship agreement before the first race of the 2022 season, Haas has thus failed to perform its obligations to Uralkali for this year’s season.
“Uralkali shall request the immediate reimbursement of the amounts received by Haas.
“The refund from Haas and the remaining part of Uralkali’s sponsor financing for 2022 will be used to establish the We Compete As One athlete support foundation.”
Dmitry Mazepin Weighs In
“Uralkali has been for many years contributing considerably towards global food security and providing significant assistance to a whole range of sports associations, organizations and events both in Russia and abroad.”
With Haas pushing through several dramas over the last week, we’ll certainly be interested to follow this story.