LONDON (Reuters) – The U.S.-owned Haas Formula One team presented its 2021 car in Russian colours on Thursday with potash producer Uralkali, owned by the billionaire father of new Russian driver Nikita Mazepin, joining as title sponsor.
Mazepin will be partnered in an all-rookie lineup with Mick Schumacher, son of Ferrari great Michael and the reigning F2 champion.
Ferrari-powered Haas, ninth last season with just three points, are owned by machine-tools industrialist Gene Haas.
“We look forward to representing their brand throughout the season,” the American said in a statement announcing the multi-year deal.
“It’s definitely a case of all change but I’m hoping that we get back to being in the mix for scoring some points at these races.
“It’s been a tough couple of seasons, but we’ve also got our eye on the bigger picture, in particular 2022 and the implementation of the new regulations.”
The team released images of the car in a predominantly white livery with red and blue flourishes.
The front wing replicated the white, blue and red bands of the Russian flag.
Haas also announced German telecoms provider 1&1 as a sponsor.
Team principal Guenther Steiner said it would be a learning year with the team looking to the future and big rule changes next year.
“It’s no secret that the VF-21 will not be developed as we focus our energies now on the 2022 car and, what we hope, will be a more level-playing field,” he said.
“We all know roughly where we expect to be this season in terms of the competition, but we must ensure we’re there to capitalize on opportunities when they present themselves.”
The new car will run for the first time in testing in Bahrain on March 12. The season starts at the Sakhir circuit on March 28.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)