The World Anti-Doping Agency is investigating the livery of the Haas VF-21 Formula 1 car that the team unveiled on Thursday, a spokesperson has told Motorsport.com.
The new livery bares a striking resemblance to the Russian flag, likely a result of the team’s newly announced title sponsor partnership with Uralkali, a Russian fertiliser business of which Dmitry Mazepin, father of Haas driver Nikita, is a shareholder.
However, following an investigation into state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics by WADA, the Court of Arbitration for Sport announced in December that Russian athletes would be banned from competing in world championship events for two years, with the Russian Automobile Federation confirming last month that this would also apply to FIA-sanctioned world championships.
As a result, Mazepin cannot race under the Russian flag this season and is unable to display “any national emblem or other national symbol of the Russian Federation, including without limitation, on their clothes, equipment or other personal items.”
The use of the Russian flag on the VF-21 would therefore appear to be in contravention of the ban and a spokesperson from WADA confirmed to Motorsport.com that the issue was being looked into.
When asked by Motorsport.com for comment the FIA said “the CAS decision does not prohibit the use of the colours of the Russian flag”.
The interpretation of “national emblem or other national symbol” by WADA is likely to be a key point in its investigation.