Haas F1 claims that the design of the Russian flag is not a result of the WADA decision
In December, the Arbitration Court for Sport announced a two-year ban for Russian athletes from World Championship sporting events.
The ban relates to state-sponsored doping and a cover-up at the 2014 Winter Olympics following investigations by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which recommended a four-year ban.
The Russian Auto Federation confirmed in February that this would extend to the FIA World Championships, which means Mazepin cannot race under the Russian flag this year. Mazpin is also prohibited from using national emblems, flags or symbols, as well as the word “Russia” or “Russian”, on his clothing.
Haas unveiled a new cladding design for the 2021 season on Thursday, abandoning its traditional white, red and gray colors with a red, white and blue design that matches the colors of the Russian flag.
But Gunter Steiner, the team leader, said the design had been planned before it was known that the WADA ruling would extend to F1, meaning it was not an attempt to circumvent the ban.
“No, we didn’t circumvent anything,” Steiner said.
“We actually came up with this costume last year before all of this WADA got off the Russian flag.
“Obviously, we cannot use the Russian flag as a Russian flag, but you can use the colors on the car. In the end, the player who cannot display the Russian flag is not the team. The team is an American team.”
Steiner said the team had been in contact with the FIA about its uniforms ahead of the new season, but claimed it did not need approval for the design.
Mazepin will not be classified as a Russian driver for the F1 novice season, but is expected to compete as a “neutral athlete from Russia,” the referee allows.
But the 22-year-old said he still had to finish the finer terminology for his rating this year.
“I’ve wanted to compete in F1 my entire life, since I knew F1 was there,” Mazepin said.
“It is very unfortunate that in the year I achieved my goal, these things happened. It is not for me to judge or decide in any way.
“Currently I’m still in discussion about how to rank me. There is no decision yet.”