'It's a write-off' - Mounting troubles for Haas F1 team ahead of second pre-season test

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Haas team boss, Guenther Steiner
Haas team boss, Guenther Steiner

The Haas F1 ran into problems before the season began.

The team's cars and spare parts are stuck in Doncaster airport, possibly meaning that Haas will miss the first day of the second three-day pre-season test.

The team must also find a replacement for the axed Nikita Mazepin.

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The Haas F1 team seem to be having a pre-season nightmare as news emerges that a cargo plane breakdown means they are likely to miss the start of testing in Bahrain.

The plane carrying Haas spare parts is apparently stuck in Doncaster airport. The official pre-season test takes place in Bahrain on 10-12 March, ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix on the weekend of 18-20 March.

The 2022 Haas cars, which have lost the title sponsorship of Uralkali and are now minus Russian driver Nikita Mazepin, will be driven by Mick Schumacher and possibly Pietro Fittipaldi.

Pietro Fittipaldi
Pietro Fittipaldi

A two-day lead

Auto Motor und Sport is reporting: "According to our information, (the cargo) should now be flown to Leipzig and from there to Bahrain."

Haas team boss Guenther Steiner has confirmed they will be forced to write off the first day of testing: "We may have to write off the first test day. All the other teams have a two-day lead in preparation over us."

What is expected to happen is that the FIA and Formula 1 will make every effort to speed things up as they want all ten cars on the grid for the opening day of test in Bahrain.

"There was a lot of intense criticism about the Ukrainian invasion, and it was just getting overwhelming," Haas owner Gene Haas told the Associated Press. "We can't deal with all that; our other sponsors can't deal with all that."

READ: OPINION | Russia's war on Ukraine could cost Nikita Mazepin his future in F1

Fittipaldi is the temporary replacement for 22-year-old Russian driver Mazepin in Bahrain. The candidates considered for the race seat are Oscar Piastri, Antonio Giovinazzi and Nico Hulkenberg.

Gene Haas said: "We'll have somebody by Wednesday. I think we'd obviously like to get someone with a bit more actual experience. We just have to see what's available."

The team's title sponsor Uralkali, headed by Mazepin's father, Dmitry, was dropped by the American-owned team due to its links with Vladimir Putin, but Gene Haas said it would not affect the team.

The team owner said: "I don't know why people said it became a Russian team. Haas Automation was always on the car. We're good. We're fine. We'd like more money, of course, but we're fine. This just gives us a bigger negative number."

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Haas F1's VF-22
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