Nikita Mazepin’s advisor Jesper Carlsen later tells Steiner that because the oligarch and his son “thinks there’s a difference between the cars,” he will “pop a formal letter” threatening to “withdraw”.
When questioned about this and whether he was worried the Mazpepins would withdraw funding, Steiner says: “I don’t want to go there on an interview.”
After Nikita Mazepin repeatedly complained to the press that he was driving a heavier chassis than Schumacher, it emerged that his father had paid for Haas to construct a new chassis for him later on in the season.
Earlier on in the episode series, it’s also pointed out to Steiner that the car bears a significant resemblance to the Russian flag, which he counters with: “It is not a Russian colour scheme, you know? It could be American, it could be British. It’s always the same colours, you know?”
Now however, it appears the American team are conceding that the car does indeed represent the Russian flag, after it removed the branding of Uralkali after the country invaded Ukraine last week, running a plain white car on the final day of Barcelona’s pre-season test “out of respect.”
It has also emerged that Mazepin will not be able to race at this year’s British GP as a Russian licence holder, after governing body Motorsport UK moved to ban drivers from that country and Belarus in response to the ongoing invasion. This came after the FIA announced it would ban Russian teams, but not drivers.