Haas discover outcome of £10.3m Mazepin sponsor lawsuit as legal battle ends

Haas discover outcome of £10.3m Mazepin sponsor lawsuit as legal battle ends

Haas have been told to issue a partial refund of their £10.3million (£13m) sponsorship fee from Uralkali following a lengthy legal dispute. The Russian fertilizer company signed on as a title sponsor in 2021, but their partnership was terminated early ahead of the 2022 campaign following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Mazepin joined Haas in 2021 along with his long-time sponsor Uralkali amid a storm of controversy, but his rookie season did not yield the returns that both he and Haas had hoped. Following a pointless maiden campaign, his F1 career came to an end following his home country’s invasion of Ukraine in March 2022.

In his place, Guenther Steiner moved to bring Kevin Magnussen back to the team, while Mick Schumacher continued into his second and final year with the team. Mazepin, however, was furious, and Uralkali demanded a refund on their already-paid £10.3m sponsorship fee.

Haas, however, were unwilling to agree to Uralkali’s demands, and the two parties embarked on a legal battle that has only just come to an end. Following a ruling from the Swiss arbitration court, both sides of the dispute are arguing that they emerged victorious.

Uralkali issued a statement on Thursday ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, reading: “The tribunal found that Haas was in violation of the contract and obliged the team to pay compensation to Uralkali.”

This was then disputed by Haas in their own statement, released on Sunday. “Haas terminated its agreement with Uralkali on 4 March 2022, shortly after Russian military forces invaded Ukraine.

“The arbitration panel ruled that, in light of all the facts relating to the parties’ relationship, including Uralkali’s association with Russia, Haas ‘could not be expected to continue the Sponsorship Agreement under such circumstances’, and concluded that “the Arbitral Tribunal finds that Haas had a just cause to terminate the Sponsorship Agreement’.

“The panel emphasised that multiple other sports organizations severed their ties with Russian companies immediately after the invasion of Ukraine, and thus there was a risk ‘that Haas could rapidly be the last non-Russian sport team continuing with a Russian name sponsor.

“Accordingly, the panel ruled that the sponsorship was effectively terminated on the date of Haas’s notice of termination, and ordered that Haas retain the portion of the sponsorship fee for the period before the termination, and refund any balance to Uralkali.”