Mazepin threatened to pull Haas sponsorship in early '21


Nikita Mazepin's father told Haas he would withdraw funding if the team did not make significant changes to help his son's performance

Nikita Mazepin Haas Barcelona pre-season test 2022

Uralkali has invested significant finance into Haas over the past year


Nikita Mazepin’s oligarch father threatened to pull Haas’s title sponsorship over suspicions that team-mate Mick Schumacher had a better car last year, it has emerged.

In scenes from the new season of Netflix’s Drive to Survive documentary, Dmitry Mazepin says he will “send an official letter that we stop financing”, during the fourth race of the year in Barcelona.

Uralkali, the Russian firm which provides significant funding to the American team, guaranteed its survival after owner Gene Haas decided to invest less in the team.

Nikita suffered a torrid start to 2021, enduring a number of crashes interspersed with poor finishes as he struggled to get to grips with the Haas VF-21. In the series’ episode concerning Haas, he repeatedly requests to switch chassis with his team-mate Mick Schumacher, with friction increasing as Steiner and the Mazepin family push against one another.

Nikita Mazepin Haas Barcelona pre-season test 2022 with Uralkali branding removed

The Haas car with the Uralkali branding removed on the last day of pre-season testing


“If it doesn’t change, I will send an official letter that we stop financing and stop racing,” says Dmitry.

“It will be a huge problem with the money,” he elaborates. “And they will decide what to do, because we will not keep this ‘let’s do, let’s do, let’s try, let’s try.’ We already tried [for] three races and if we remove the Uralkali, we stop racing. Switch the cars. Everybody knows that someone has an advantage.

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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.