Gene Haas founder, president, and sole stockholder of Haas Automation has been forced to dumped his F1 outfit’s primary sponsor on Saturday amid the war in Ukraine at a cost of over ten millions dollars.
An announcement by the Haas F1 team on who is expected to replace Nikita Mazepin will be made as early as Wednesday, team owner Eugene Francis Haas confirmed in recent an interview over the weekend.
“Yeah, we are talking about that right now, we will have something by Wednesday, though,” Haas said. “We have a couple of candidates. You know how that goes, we’ve got to see if we can get them on board but the good news is that it started at the beginning of the season and not the end of the season or in the middle of the season. So, in that respect it was good.”
Gene Haas said pressure from his NASCAR team sponsors also forced him to cut ties with Mazepin, his family and the relation he had with Russia after President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Hass also explained that it is a definitely financial hit however there was no real reason to keep Mazepin on board.
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“There was a lot of pressure from sponsors as far as the negativity of having a Russian sponsor and driver, so hopefully, it diffuses all of that, you know, politics. We are here to race cars not get involved in the politics but unfortunately, there was a lot of pressure. A lot of our sponsors on the Cup side weren’t real happy about having a Russian anywhere. There’s just a lot of feelings, heartfelt feelings, about what is going on.”
Dmitry Mazepin is reportedly one of the Russian business leaders who met with President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow last week to have talks about sanctions placed on the country following the invasion of Ukraine.
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Nikita Mazepin joined Haas at the start of 2021 as part of a sponsorship deal with Russian fertilizer company Uralkali, which is part-owned by his father Dmitry Mazepin.
The 69-y-o is a successful businessman who’s the founder and president of machine tool manufacturer Haas Automation. that being said, only Gene Haas can be sure how much he’s willing to risk if losing his F1 title sponsor costs him to lose $30 million or more.
“Oh sure, less money,” Haas said. “But we’re okay.
“We were just getting overwhelmed. It was just so much intense scrutiny and negative publicity and everybody in the Western world is seeing these images of people being killed and becoming homeless and pushed out of their country. It is just overwhelming but nobody in Russia sees that. So, their point of view is well, ‘we are just doing a police action’ so, I think the Russians, let’s say, have a completely different point of view than what the Western world sees. And, you know, you wish that we could all see the same thing but we don’t. I think what we see, we see it from a free speech issue and all, and the media is just overwhelming of how much attention is paid. It’s on every single channel, top of the news every single hour so you just can’t escape it. The Russians don’t see any of that.”