Red Bull chief Helmut Marko praises F1 for taking a stand against Russia, but calls for Haas to not drop Nikita Mazepin based on his country.
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine last week, F1 acted swiftly to announce that they won’t be racing in Russia. This decision was made immediately after the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen voiced their concerns on the matter.
Also taking a stand was Haas F1 team. The Kannapolis based outfit had Uralkali, a Russian company as their title sponsor. However, as soon as the war began, they removed all of their branding from the cars, garages and paddock homes.
Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko recently shared his thoughts on the matter. The 78-year old feels that the organizers made the right call when it came to not going ahead with the Russian GP. Letting the country host an international sporting event, would offer them an opportunity to ‘clean up’ their image, falsely.
A statement on the Russian Grand Prix pic.twitter.com/OZbbu9Z8ip
— Formula 1 (@F1) February 25, 2022
“I think this is the only opportunity to profile yourself as a sport,” said Marko. “It would only be counterproductive if we offer Russia the opportunity to put itself positively on the map with a Grand Prix.”
“It was also crystal clear from the drivers that they do not want to race in a country that unleashes a war in such an aggressive way. Our rights holder Liberty immediately came with a clear cancellation. And you can see that the sport continues this trend worldwide.”
Nikita Mazepin shouldn’t be dropped based on his nationality, says the Helmut Marko
Earlier this week, the Automobile Federation of Ukraine requested the FIA to suspend all Russian and Belarusian license holders in the world of motorsport. This put Haas driver Nikita Mazepin’s future under serious threat.
It’s very likely that Uralkali won’t continue as title sponsor for the team following sanctions imposed on Russian companies by the West. Without his father’s company funding the team, Mazepin could be replaced ahead of the start of the campaign.
Marko rose to voice his support for the 23-year old. The Austrian said that if Haas can manage to have Mazepin without Uralkali, they should give him a chance.
🚨 | A key aspect of the FIA’s statement:
“No Russian/Belarusian national symbols, colours, flags (uniform, equipment and car)- should be displayed”.
Haas’s Russian inspired livery is gone… Uralkali could follow suit.
— FormulaRacers (@formularacers_) March 1, 2022
“If Mazepin can stay in the team without Uralkali’s financial support, I don’t think you should exclude him on the basis of his nationality,” he said. (Daniil) Medvedev is also not yet excluded from the international tennis circuit. It is primarily about financing Russia.”
On Tuesday evening, FIA announced that Russian and Belarusian drivers could continue to race, provided they do so without displaying their country flags. This means that Mazepin does not have to leave Haas on FIA guidelines.