Russian Haas defies WADA

It is forbidden to compete under the flag of Russia in world championships. Steiner raffles it: "We can use colors on a car."

The fact that Haas displays the Russian flag in Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin's VF21 would be no more than an anecdote, for a North American team, if it weren't for the ban. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) sanctioned Russia in December 2019 by excluding them from the Olympic Games and world sports competitions for "intentionally altering" anti-doping test results and hindering the work of WADA; and the CAS ratified the punishment at the end of last year, although it reduced it from four to two years.

Russian athletes who intend to compete in world championships can only do so individually and under a neutral flag. But the Banbury team's car wears the red, blue and white colors of the Russian flag unequivocally. All as a consequence of the entry of the sponsor Uralkali, a chemical company Dimitri Mazepin, father of the rookie pilot.

WADA is on notice and may review the case. Meanwhile, the team takes cover. Guenther Steiner, head of Haas, justifies that "the new decoration was raised before the TAS ruling (in December 2020, although the sanction was previous)". And it is justified: "We cannot use a Russian flag, as such, but we can use colors on a car. The athlete cannot compete under the Russian flag, but Haas competes as an American team." That is the version that the FIA would have transmitted to Haas: the use of colors is not prohibited.

Meanwhile, rookie Mazepin, 22, will have to wait at least another season before he can celebrate a victory with the Russian national anthem, if he gets the chance. "We are still talking about how my results will be considered. There is no decision yet," he told the media on Thursday. That the TAS ruling came months before its Formula 1 debut "is a shame" .

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