Could Haas field F1 drivers named Fittipaldi and Schumacher?

Pietro Fittipaldi on the 2021 Indy 500. (Reuters)

LAS VEGAS — The connection between Haas F1 and its Russian sponsor and driver turned untenable following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the proprietor of the United States-based Method One group mentioned Sunday.

Gene Haas additionally mentioned his group was financially steady regardless of the choice Saturday to chop ties with Russian driver Nikita Mazepin and sponsor Uralkali. The Russian fertilizer firm is owned by Mazepin’s father, Dmitry Mazepin, an in depth ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“There was quite a lot of intense criticism concerning the Ukrainian invasion and it was simply getting overwhelming. We will not take care of all that, our different sponsors cannot take care of all that,” Haas instructed The Related Press on the beginning grid at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Logos for Haas Automation, the CNC machine software manufacturing firm Haas based, will likely be on his two vehicles at this week’s F1 take a look at in Bahrain. Haas mentioned reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi will fill Mazepin’s seat in Bahrain, however he wasn’t clear on a everlasting alternative.

“We’re within the means of a number of candidates, we’ll see who is on the market and what we now have to take care of, however we’ll have any individual by Wednesday,” Haas mentioned. “Pietro will certainly be in it, that is what he is for, he is the take a look at driver.”

Fittipaldi is the grandson of two-time F1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi and ran two races for Haas in 2020 because the alternative for injured driver Romain Grosjean. The 25-year-old was born in Miami and holds twin citizenship in Brazil and the US

However simply because Haas mentioned Fittipaldi will likely be within the automotive in Bahrain, that doesn’t imply he’ll be teammates this yr with Mick Schumacher. Haas final season overhauled his lineup with rookies Mazepin and Schumacher, the son of seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher.

Haas’ marketing strategy allowed for a troublesome 2021 season — Mazepin and Schumacher have been behind the grid almost each time on the observe — however the introduction of a brand new automotive and an improved engine this season may make the group extra aggressive. The Haas group additionally believes the 22-year-old Schumacher generally is a world famous person.

“I feel we’re wanting. I feel we might clearly wish to get somebody with a bit extra precise expertise,” Haas instructed the AP. “We simply must see what’s out there.”

Haas additionally insisted that his CNC firm has all the time been the first supply of sponsorship for the F1 group and that Uralkali was solely “the title sponsor” in 2021 when each F1 vehicles have been branded within the colours of the Russian flag. The Haas group final month scrambled to take away the Uralkali branding from its vehicles when Russia invaded Ukraine on the identical time F1 was testing in Barcelona.

Haas crew members have been seen scraping the logos off the group vehicles after the second of three days of testing, and the vehicles have been plain white for the ultimate session. It was essential, Haas mentioned, to take away the branding instantly even because the group studied its contracts to be taught its choices.

“Haas has all the time been the main, major sponsor, I do not know why folks mentioned it turned a Russian group. Haas Automation was all the time on the automotive,” he mentioned.

He has dumped Uralkali however mentioned the group is ok. Haas additionally co-owns a high NASCAR group with Tony Stewart.

“We’re good. We’re high-quality. We would like more cash, after all, however we’re high-quality,” he mentioned. “This simply offers us a much bigger unfavorable quantity.”

Extra AP auto racing

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