The Russian invasion of Ukraine is currently raging on and it seems like there is absolutely nowhere that hasn’t been affected by it. Formula 1 has even been heavily affected by it. The two biggest indicators of that have been the loss of the Russian Grand Prix for the foreseeable future (due to F1 effectively ripping up its contract with the event’s promoter) and the Haas F1 Team severing its connections both with title sponsor Uralkali and Russian driver Nikita Mazepin. This has left Haas without a title sponsor and without a permanent second driver (reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi will be driving the VF-22 in Bahrain this weekend as part of the second round of pre-season testing, but his promotion to a main driver role is not guaranteed).
According to Jake Kemp, a Sport Analyst at GlobalData, the Haas F1 Team is one of the most impacted teams in motorsport when it comes to Russo-Ukrainian war. “The Russia-Ukraine situation is having seismic consequences on global sport, F1 included,” he said. “One of the most notable changes is around the removal of Russian Grand Prix hosting rights, as the sport was previously expected to visit the resort city of Sochi between 23 and 25 September 2022. Russia is one of the biggest payers for hosting rights, so the loss of the Russian Grand Prix will equate to substantial lost income—reported to be in excess of $50 million this season.“
“The loss of Russia is not the first big hosting rights contract lost in F1 for the 2022 season,” he continued, explaining how it isn’t just the loss of the Russian Grand Prix that has caused a significant financial impact to F1. “Qatar also skipped the new season, representing another big loss for hosting contracts. Qatar too saw losses of over $50 million—although, Qatar is expected to return to the F1 calendar in 2023.”
“One of the most impacted teams is Haas,” Kemp explained. “While the loss of Russian driver Nikita Mazepin will not be too damaging—Mazepin was consistently outperformed by his German teammate in 2021, only out-qualifying Mick Schumacher at two Grand Prix, and losing to him in races on 16 occasions—the team’s termination of a sponsorship partnership with Uralkali will hit hard. This $10-million-a-year deal had a major influence on the team’s ability to compete in 2021, representing a significant chunk of the estimated $43.65 million generated in sponsorship by the team during the 2021 season. The loss also pushes Haas back to 13 major brand partners for the 2022 season, putting them alongside Scuderia Alpha Tauri as the team with the fewest sponsors in the sport.“
“Haas has been fighting at the back of the grid for the past few seasons, so losing a significant financial contributor will hurt its efforts in the sport this year and likely see it fighting at the back of the grid again.“
“Further ramifications for Haas could include a color design overhaul of the new 2022 livery, as the Russian colours (red, white and blue) were previously attributed to the team on the back of the team’s association with Uralkali.“
Jake Kemp‘s analysis certainly paints a bit of a grim picture for the Haas F1 Team. With a huge amount of lost money and the loss of a driver to negotiate before the season has even properly started, it could take nothing short of a miracle for any decent results to come out of 2022 for them. Haas’s F1 future is very much up in the air and, like many things in Formula 1, we’ll just have to wait and see how the season unfolds to see how things will turn out.