Uralkali, the former title sponsor of the Haas Formula 1 Team, has demanded an “immediate reimbursement” of the money paid to cover the 2022 season.
Haas announced last week that it had parted ways with Uralkali and driver Nikita Mazepin ahead of the new campaign following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Uralkali, which is owned by Mazepin’s father Dmitry, released a statement on Wednesday condemning Haas’ decision, stating that it believes politics and sport should not intertwine.
“Uralkali (the Company), one of the world’s largest potash producers, and also the title sponsor of Uralkali Haas F1 Team (the Team, Haas), hereby announces that it was advised by the Team of their unilateral termination of the sponsorship agreement with Uralkali due to the current geopolitical situation.
“Uralkali has been for many years contributing considerably towards global food security and providing significant assistance to a whole range of sports associations, organizations and events both in Russia and abroad.
“The Company views the Team’s decision as unreasonable and believes that sports should always be free of politics and pressure from external factors.
“Given the above, Uralkali intends to protect its interests in line with applicable legal procedures and reserves its rights to initiate judicial proceedings, claim damages and seek repayment of the significant amounts Uralkali had paid for the 2022 Formula 1 season.”
Uralkali added that most of the money that was owed for 2022 has already been paid, and that the funds that were yet to be lodged will be used to set up an athlete support foundation.
“As most of the sponsorship funding for the 2022 season has already been transferred to Haas and given that the Team terminated the sponsorship agreement before the first race of the 2022 season, Haas has thus failed to perform its obligations to Uralkali for this year’s season.
“Uralkali shall request the immediate reimbursement of the amounts received by Haas.
“The refund from Haas and the remaining part of Uralkali’s sponsor financing for 2022 will be used to establish the We Compete As One athlete support foundation.”