Haas insists it did not lose battle with Russian sponsor

They both claim victory in their battle


24 June 2024 - 12:27
Haas insists it did not lose battle (…)

Haas has hit back at claims the small American F1 team lost a key legal battle against an embittered former sponsor.

Last Friday, the axed-in-2022 Nikita Mazepin’s similarly ousted backer Uralkali, a Russian fertiliser giant with links to Vladimir Putin, declared that it won a Swiss arbitration case against the terminated title sponsorship deal.

Subsequent reports indicated that Haas would therefore have to re-pay about $13 million in paid sponsorship to Uralkali to compensate for the contract that was unilaterally ended by the team at the onset of the Ukraine conflict.

"The company expects Haas to promptly fulfil its obligations confirmed by the arbitration tribunal decision," Uralkali had said.

However, Haas has a different take on what happened in the Swiss proceedings.

"The arbitration panel ruled that Haas had ’just cause’ to terminate its sponsorship contract with Uralkali, and denied Uralkali’s claims for breach of contract," said the team, directly contradicting Uralkali’s earlier statement.

Haas insists that the arbitration panel actually agreed that Haas was justified in ending the deal due to "Uralkali’s association with Russia".

"The panel emphasised that multiple other sports organisations 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," a team spokesman added.

So while Haas will have to repay some money to Uralkali, the team can "retain the portion of the sponsorship fee for the period before the termination," whilst refunding "any balance to Uralkali."

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