It is no secret that the Haas F1 Team has been cash strapped and hit particularly hard because of the pandemic. It was one of the reasons why the team dropped its seasoned drivers, Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, for rookies Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin. Schumacher came because Ferrari had backed him and Mazepin came with a wad of cash from his billionaire father Dimitry Mazepin who had earlier tried to acquire Force India. It is also the reason why a lot of development hasn't been done on the 2021 car which is why Haas finds itself at the back of the grid, behind even the Williams F1 team.
Now rumours are swirling that Gene Haas is going to be pulling out of the F1 project and will sell his team to Dimitry Mazepin. The Haas car already features major sponsorship and branding from Mazepin's stable Uralkali and almost has the colours of the Russian flag. His son Nikita Mazepin is one of the drivers and it can be argued that he might have lost his seat because of the social media incident had his father not been such a major benefactor of the team.
So, according to rumours, Gene Haas is pulling out of #F1 and sadly selling out to Dmitry Mazepin, and might include a sponsorship agreement, with a ???? we all know too well...???? pic.twitter.com/icJSyz7mIX— Peter ⓖ (@Onlyfruits) April 22, 2021
"So, according to rumours, Gene Haas is pulling out of #F1 and sadly selling out to Dmitry Mazepin, and might include a sponsorship agreement," tweeted @onlyfruits an account which is well known for posting information about F1.
This means Haas is looking to sell out to Mazepin. It also means that there could be a role reversal of the branding on some level as currently the Haas car is littered with the Uralkali branding. It could be a deal similar to the one Sauber has with Alfa Romeo.
Gene Haas back at the start of the 2020 season had warned that he will reevaluate at the end of 5 years in the sport. He also said that the results of the 2020 season would impact what he does next. And in 2020 Haas deteriorated thanks to a weak Ferrari engine and was harmed by the pandemic.
"I'm just kind of waiting to see how this season starts off," said Haas to Motorsport.com. "If we have another bad year, then it would not be that favourable [to stay]," he said at the time.
"We did five years. That was really the test - we're going to do this for five years, see how it goes and evaluate it and then we'll decide whether to go forward. I'm not saying we won't be back. It has to be evaluated. To do it for another five years, though, that would be a big commitment," the legendary American race team owner said.
In the Netflix documentary "Drive To Survive" Haas team principal Guenther Steiner also was seen procuring sponsorship for the survival of the team as Gene Haas had refused to infuse more funding into the team.