'We can't deal with all that' - F1 team boss Gene Haas opens up on Nikita Mazepin decision

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Gene Haas Team, principal of Haas F1 Team gestures in the garage during Day Two of F1 Testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 24, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain.
Gene Haas Team, principal of Haas F1 Team gestures in the garage during Day Two of F1 Testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 24, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain.
Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Haas team boss Gene Haas revealed the intense criticism he faced over the teams' Russian links while driver Pietro Fittipaldi is set for testing.

Haas explained that he and the team had come under tremendous pressure to break ties with their Russian sponsor Uralkali and driver Nikita Mazepin in light of the Ukraine invasion, which led to the team dropping both.

"There was a lot of intense criticism about the Ukrainian invasion, and it was just getting overwhelming," Haas told AP.

READ | My willingness to accept conditions were ignored - Russia's Mazepin devastated by F1 culling

"We can't deal with all that; our other sponsors can't deal with all that. Haas has always been the primary sponsor; 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."

While Haas indicated several options to replace Mazepin, the team's reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi seems the likely replacement after it was revealed he would be driving alongside teammate Mick Schumacher in the upcoming Bahrain testing window.

"We're in the process of looking at several candidates, we'll see who is available and what we have to deal with, but we'll have somebody by Wednesday," added Haas.

"Pietro will definitely be in it; that's what he's for; he's the test driver."

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