Russian Oligarchs

Haas F1 loses Swiss court battle with Uralkali 2024

A legal battle between Haas and its former title sponsor has concluded with the F1 team being ordered to pay a substantial amount. After Haas terminated its partnership with Uralkali shortly following the onset of Russian military actions in Ukraine in early 2022, a Swiss court resolved the dispute in favor of the Russian company.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, Haas terminated its contracts with then-driver Nikita Mazepin and with Uralkali, the company owned by his father Dmitry that entered into a title partner agreement with the team 12 months previously.

Uralkali, one of the world’s leading potash producers, demanded Haas return the $13 million sponsorship money paid in advance.

Swiss court rules in favour of Uralkali

Uralkali, one of the world’s largest producers of potash, became a title sponsor of the Haas F1 team in 2021 when the American squad signed Nikita Mazepin to its driver roster alongside Mick Schumacher. Nikita Mazepin is the son of Dmitry Mazepin, a Russian oligarch and the former chairman of Uralkali, who relinquished his controlling stake shortly after the military action began.

The Mazepins’ close association with Vladimir Putin’s administration led to both father and son being added to the EU’s sanctions list in early 2022, with the UK following suit shortly afterward. However, the EU lifted sanctions against Nikita Mazepin earlier this year, ruling that a closer association beyond family relations was needed for such measures.

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Haas F1 loses Swiss court battle

When Haas swiftly decided to drop Mazepin as a driver and Uralkali as a team sponsor, the Russian company immediately sought legal recourse. An arbitration tribunal investigated the matter under Swiss arbitration rules.

The dispute centered on the nature of the sponsorship contract’s termination and ultimately ruled in favor of Uralkali, awarding the potash producer compensation. A press release from Uralkali stated, “The tribunal found that Haas was in violation of the contract and obliged the team to pay compensation to Uralkali.”

The release further mentioned, “The tribunal also rejected all of the team’s counterclaims toward the company. The arbitral award puts an end to the dispute between Uralkali and Haas regarding the sponsorship agreement.”

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