Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says the team is taking extra care with its choice of partners after splitting from former title sponsor Uralkali.
The team severed its ties with the Russian company following the invasion of Ukraine by Vladimiar Putin’s military in February. Uralkali chief Dmitry Mazepin and his son Nikita, who drove for Haas last year, have both been subject to sanctions as a result of the war.
Asked whether the team will be more cautious over similar deals in future, Steiner said: “Obviously we live and learn.”
The team had already taken steps to tighten up its procedures prior to its split from Uralkali, he explained. “A new marketing director started with us in January and it’s one of his tasks to do all the due diligence and to make it as right as he can do these things.”
Haas is not in a hurry to find a replacement for Uralkali. “We are waiting for the best package,” said Steiner. “It’s a combination of things, the best offer, the best sponsor, and just not doing something, maybe today, which you find out in six months I shouldn’t have done.”
“We are obviously always looking for sponsors,” he added. “There is a lot of movement but we don’t want to jump immediately onto the next one.
“We want to take our time, do our due diligence, make a good decision. We are in a safe place in the moment so it’s no point to rush to anything which we may regret in six months’ time.”
On Wednesday the team announced a new partnership with payments system TransferMate, the groundwork for which was laid following pre-season testing in Spain. “There is stuff coming in but they need to be right,” said Steiner. “That deal with TransferMate took two months to get done. But these are all things which help the team.”
Uralkali has demand Haas return the money it paid in sponsorship following the termination of their deal. Steiner said the matter is in their lawyers’ hands.
“I don’t want to be in a position to comment publicly on our legal issues with our former sponsor,” he said. “It’s a legal situation and confidentiality I respect, because that’s what it should be. So I don’t want to come out here publicly ‘we said that, they said that’. ”
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