Just a few days ahead of the Bahrain pre-season testing, the Haas Formula 1 Team has announced that they have terminated Nikita Mazepin’s contract and their title partnership with Uralkali with immediate effect.
“Haas F1 Team has elected to terminate, with immediate effect, the title partnership of Uralkali, and the driver contract of Nikita Mazepin,” said a statement from the team.
“As with the rest of the Formula 1 community, the team is shocked and saddened by the invasion of Ukraine and wishes for a swift and peaceful end to the conflict.”
Uralkali has been the title sponsor of the American team since the start of last season. The Russian potash fertilizer producer and exporter is partly owned by Mazepin's father Dmitry, who is a close associate of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
After Putin ordered a military attack on Ukraine last Thursday, Haas decided to remove the Uralkali branding and logo from its cars and completed the last day of the Barcelona shakedown test with a white livery.
The American team was set to field the driver line up of Mick Schumacher and Mazepin after the two former F2 drivers made their debut in Formula One last year. The Kannapolis based outfit is expected to announce Mazepin's replacement early next week.
Team Principal Guenther Steiner indicated at Barcelona that reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi, who has already made two F1 starts for Haas, would be the obvious choice given his experience with the team. Ferrari junior driver and Formula E racer Antonio Giovinazzi has also been linked with the seat.