- Contract terminated following Russian invasion of Ukraine and Dmitry Mazepin’s links to Putin
- Uralkali already paid majority of sponsorship fee prior to 2022 season
- Haas hits back at Uralkali, demanding further €8m payment
Russian fertiliser brand Uralkali has had its request for a sponsorship refund and compensation rejected by the Haas Formula One team, according to Motorsport.com.
The report says that Uralkali, the company owned by Russian billionaire Dmitry Mazepin, had requested a US$13 million refund for its sponsorship fee and a further US$8.6 million in compensation.
Uralkali was set to enter its second season as title sponsor of Haas, but the team cut ties after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine saw Dmitry Mazepin’s relationship with Vladimir Putin brought under the spotlight. Dmitry Mazepin’s son Nikita Mazepin also saw his driver contract with the team terminated.
In the immediate aftermath of Haas’ decision to cancel the contract, Uralkali stated its intention to ‘request the immediate reimbursement of the amounts received by Haas’ as the team had ‘failed to perform its obligations to [the company] for this year’s season’.
Now, in a letter seen by Motorsport.com, Haas have wholly rejected these claims, stating that the contract termination was lawful due to a clause in the agreement outlining that Uralkali does not ‘injure, bring into dispute, ridicule, or lessen the public reputation, goodwill, or favourable image of Haas’.
It should be noted that, at the time of the termination, Dmitry Mazepin nor Uralkali had been subject to EU sanctions – this came four days later on 9th March.
Motorsport.com reports that the letter states: ‘According to unanimous legal scholars and case law, the party which terminates the agreement for breach of the other party is under no obligation to return to such party what it has already received under the agreement.
‘The claim of Uralkali to obtain the re-payment of the down paid amount of €12 million is therefore ungrounded and rejected.
In addition to this, Haas claims they are entitled to €8 million (US$8.7 million) of compensation, as they believe they have lost profits that would have been realised had the deal continued.
A clause in the original contract that would have seen Uralkali receive one of Nikita Mazepin’s 2021 cars has also reportedly been rejected by Haas, as the team have stated this will only be fulfilled if the compensation is received.
Dmitry Mazepin relinquished control of Uralkali on 21st April, selling 52 per cent of his controlling stake in the company and resigning from the board of its Uralchem parent.