Haas to 'sort out' Uralkali F1 future next week

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Haas team boss Guenther Steiner says the US outfit will address and "sort out" the future of its title sponsorship deal with Russian partner Uralkali next week.

Following Russian president Vladimir Putin's decision this week to invade and to engage in war with Ukraine, a wave of economic and financial sanctions are being imposed on Russia.

The crisis and its ongoing escalation compelled Haas on Thursday in Barcelona to strip its car of its Russian colors and its Uralkali branding, a decision taken with the full support of team owner Gene Haas.

The Russian fertilizer giant, majority owned by Dmitry Mazepin, the father of Haas driver Nikita Mazepin, has been the US outfit's title sponsor since 2021.

But Russia's current stance and the sanctions levied upon it by the Western world have likely rendered Uralkali's presence in F1 with Haas untenable. On Friday, Formula 1 announced that it had called off next September's Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.

"We removed it [Uralkali branding] yesterday, we have to sort out all the legal stuff, which I cannot speak about, next week," Steiner said.

"At the moment, I said we're not going to do it today. We made the decision yesterday with our team partners. This is what we're going to do. I need to work on the rest next week."

Steiner insisted that the situation would not impact Haas as a competitor, nor put its presence in F1 in jeopardy should it lose, as expected, the remainder of Uralkali's funding.

"There is no setback for the competition side because of this, none at all," said the Italian. "We just need to go through the commercial issues. As I said before, we will do that in the next weeks.

"It has no [impact] on the team, how we are running it or how we are doing, how we plan this season.

"There are more ways to get the funding. There is no issue with that one."

Nevertheless, Steiner admitted that Mazepin's future in F1 this season is no longer guaranteed.

"Not everything depends on us here, what is happening," Steiner said.

"There are governments involved and I have no power over them. We need to see also the situation, how it develops in Ukraine."

On Friday, the young Russian driver published an impassioned  message to his fans on social media.

"To my fans and followers – it's a difficult time and I am not in control over a lot of what is being said and done," he wrote.

"I'm choosing to focus on what I can control by working hard and doing my best for my Haas team.

"My deepest thanks for your understanding and support.

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