On Friday, Haas unveiled a striking new design for its VF-21 car that featured the Russian flag's red, white and blue colors to honor new title sponsor Uralkali, which is backing driver Nikita Mazepin.
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However, it raised questions about its adherence to a December decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which barred Russian athletes from participating in world championship events for the next two years.
The ban was imposed in response to WADA inquiries into state-sponsored doping and cover-ups at the 2014 Winter Olympics, which proposed a four-year ban.
Mazepin will not be able to compete under the Russian flag this year, according to the Russian Automobile Federation, which verified this in February.
Mazepin is also forbidden from wearing or carrying national emblems, flags, or symbols, as well as the words "Russia" or "Russian".
Haas argued that its livery was not intended to defy the CAS decision, but WADA has stated that it is investigating the matter.
A spokesperson from WADA told Motorsport.com , "WADA is aware of this matter and is looking into it with the relevant authorities,"
The source of the confusion appears to be a cluase in the ruling that states that Russian athletes are not allowed to compete, "shall not display publicly […] any national emblem or other national symbol of the Russian Federation, including without limitation, on their clothes, equipment or other personal items. "
The FIA responded to Motorsport.com's request for comment on the Haas livery's compliance, saying: "The team has clarified the livery with the FIA - the CAS decision does not prohibit the use of the colors of the Russian flag."
The Russian Autobile Federation initially stated that Mazepin and other Russian drivers competing in FIA world championships will. continue to use the Russian flag colors as well as the acronym RAF, which stands for 'Russian Automobile Federation'.
According to Haas F1 team principal, Guenther Steiner, "Obviously we cannot use the Russian flag as the Russian flag, but you can use colors on a car."
To add, "In the end, it's the athlete which cannot display the Russian flag and not the team. The team is an American team."
Mazepin said on Thursday that the ban had come into effect "very unfortunate" ahead of his debut Formula One season, in which he is expected to compete as a neutral Russian driver.
Mazepin said, "Currently I'm still in a discussion on how I will be classified, there is no decision yet"