Motor sport

Mazepin threatened to withdraw sponsorship of Haas in early 21

Nikita Mazepin’s oligarch father has threatened to withdraw title sponsorship of Haas, suspecting teammate Mick Schumacher had a better car last year, it has emerged.

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

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

Nikita had a torrid start to 2021, suffering a number of crashes interspersed with poor finishes as he struggled to get to grips with the Haas VF-21. In the episode of the series concerning Haas, he repeatedly asks to switch chassis with teammate Mick Schumacher, with friction increasing as Steiner and the Mazepin family push against each other.

Haas car with Uralkali branding retired on final day of pre-season testing

Haas

“If this does not change, I will send an official letter stating that we stop funding and stop racing,” says Dmitry.

“It will be a huge problem of money,” he explains. “And they’ll decide what to do, because we won’t keep this ‘let’s do, do, try, try.’ We have already tried [for] three races and if we remove the Uralkali, we stop running. Change cars. Everyone knows someone has an advantage.