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Hitech Grand Prix terminates Uralkali sponsorship deal

FIA Formula 2 and Formula 3 team Hitech Grand Prix has terminated its sponsorship deal with Russian chemical company Uralkali “with immediate effect” amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Juri Vips, Hitech Grand Prix

Photo by: Formula Motorsport Ltd

The Silverstone-based squad had been sponsored by the company since 2016. Its CEO is Dmitry Mazepin, father of ex-Haas Formula 1 driver Nikita.

Hitech ran without Uralkali branding during last week’s pre-season testing in Bahrain, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continued.

The team announced on Tuesday that its agreement with Uralkali had been terminated, adding that it was “shocked and saddened” by the war and wished for a “swift and peaceful end” to the conflict.

In a statement, the team said: “Hitech Grand Prix has elected to terminate, with immediate effect, the sponsorship agreement of Uralkali.

“As with the rest of the motorsport community, the team are shocked and saddened by the invasion of Ukraine and wish for a swift and peaceful end to the ongoing conflict.”

Uralkali became a major team partner when Mazepin signed with Hitech for the 2016 FIA European Formula 3 championship, remaining with the squad the following year as he finished tenth in the standings.

Mazepin returned to Hitech for the 2020 F2 season, taking fifth place.

Hitech Grand Prix carried Uralkali logos on its F2 cars in 2021

Hitech Grand Prix carried Uralkali logos on its F2 cars in 2021

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

On 24 February, Russian forces ordered by president Vladimir Putin began an invasion on neighbouring Ukraine, which has so far spanned over a week.

The invasion has been condemned by Western nations, with sanctions being imposed on Russia from countries worldwide.

Sporting authorities have also moved to ban Russian athletes and sporting events, though motorsport governing body the FIA has only so far banned Russian and Belarusian drivers from competing under their national flags.

During the Barcelona pre-season F1 test, when war broke out in Ukraine, Haas moved to strip its cars of Uralkali branding and Mazepin’s future remained unclear.

But on Saturday morning, Haas announced it had parted ways with both Russian chemical giant Uralkali and Mazepin. Reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi is set to take his place for this week's second F1 test in Bahrain.

Hitech has signed Marcus Armstrong from DAMS to join team returnee Juri Vips in F2, while Kaylen Frederick, testing pace-setter Isack Hadjar and Nazim Azman have been signed to its F3 arm.

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