Formula One on Friday said it will not race in Russia this year after the country launched an invasion into neighbouring Ukraine.
The Russian Grand Prix, which joined the calendar in 2014, was scheduled for September 25 at Sochi’s Olympic Park, but F1 organisers said it was “impossible” to hold the race in the “current circumstances.”
Russian driver faces uncertain future
Haas Formula One team boss Guenther Steiner acknowledged that his team’s Russian racer Nikita Mazepin faces an uncertain future due to the fallout of Russia’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.
The 22-year-old was signed to a race seat last year as part of a title sponsorship deal the U.S.-owned team struck with Russian potash producer Uralkali owned by his billionaire father Dmitry Mazepin.
“Yeah, it needs to be resolved,” Steiner told reporters when asked about Mazepin’s future.
“As I said before, not everything depends from us here.
“There is more than the F1 team involved, there are governments involved, so I have no idea what is coming from that side.”
The United States, Britain, Canada, the EU, Australia, Japan, Taiwan and others unveiled sanctions against Russia, targeting banks, military exports and members of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle after the country launched an invasion of Ukraine on Thursday.
Haas have also removed all Uralkali branding from their cars, running them in an all-white during Friday’s final day of action at the Barcelona pre-season test.
Asked whether that signalled an end to the title sponsorship deal, Steiner said he would work on all of those details, including Mazepin’s future, next week.
“We made the decision yesterday with our team partners this is what we’re going to do,” he said.
“I need to work on the rest next week.”
He added the sanctions announced so far had no impact on the team’s relationship with Uralkali and that the outfit was financially stable even if they if they had to cut ties with the Russian firm.
“It’s not something which disturbs the team of the competition side and financially we are okay,” said Steiner.
“There is more ways to get the funding so there is no issue with that one.”