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Haas F1 team to drop Russian sponsor colours in Barcelona finale

American Formula 1 team Haas will not sport the Russian colours of its title sponsor Uralkali during the last day of pre-season testing in Barcelona on Friday in protest at Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Haas, whose cars usually sport the blue, white and red colours of the Russian flag, “will present its VF-22 in a plain white livery, without the Uralkali branding, for the third and final day of testing” in Catalonia, the team said in a statement on Thursday.

As for their Russian driver, Nikita Mazepin, he “will drive as planned during the morning session”, said the team, without providing further details regarding “the agreement with the team sponors”. 

Uralkali, a group specializing in potash, has the driver’s father, businessman Dmitry Mazepin, as its non-executive director.

Earlier at the pre-season testing session, reigning world champion Max Verstappen and former champion Sebastian Vettel both said it would be wrong for the Russian Grand Prix to go ahead in September.

Four-time world champion Vettel, who drives for Aston Martin, is adamant he will not compete in the September 25 race in Sochi. 

“In my personal opinion, I woke up to this morning’s news, shocked,” Vettel said.

“I think it’s horrible to see what is happening. Obviously if you look at the calendar we have a race scheduled in Russia. For myself, my own opinion is I should not go, I will not go. I think it’s wrong to race in the country.”

Verstappen of Red Bull said he was also against competing at Sochi.  

“When a country is at war, it’s not right to run there, that’s for sure,” said the Dutchman.

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