When US-owned Formula One team Haas presented its 2021 car dressed in Russian colours it was clear how things would have gone. The title sponsor of the team is the potash producer Uralkali, owned by the billionaire Dmitry Mazepin, father of the Russian driver Nikita Mazepin.
The businessman has explained how he hopes to work with Haas to improve their staff retention into 2022. Indeed, he admitted being concerned about the rate of staff turnover, one of the operational areas that is currently proving to be critical for the team.
"I would say that the human factor is half of success in F1," Mazepin Snr told Russian broadcaster Match TV.
"This year there'll be 23 races, it's huge stress [and] amount of work for the race team that attends these 23 rounds. It's clear they barely ever see their families, they live on planes, in various timezones...
"We appreciate all that, and in this aspect, there's emerged a problem of significant staff turnover for the Haas team. And that turnover obviously causes a certain level of concern, worry, because you want to rely on professionals."
To counteract staff’s churn rate, Mazepin Snr is willing to allocate extra funds towards improving the staff retention rate.
"We know that we can only encourage them, aid their interest… As a company we've prepared an additional proposal for the Haas team," he explained.
"We as a sponsor are ready to allocate additional funds towards reinforcing the HR strategy that they're doing. This would depend on the exact place that the team finishes in the Constructors' standings."
Haas sits at the bottom of the Constructors' Championships as the only team not to score any points so far this season, having decided against developing their car to devote all their focus on the new regulations being introduced in starting 2022.
In light of this choice, the Russian billionaire hopes the efforts will be repaid:
"There's 10 teams in F1 as you know. This year, unfortunately, the team is in last place, 10th," the businessman said.
"Last year the team was ninth. Before that, the team was as high as fifth, sixth.
"I think something in between what it's had in those last years would be a good reference for where we should aim."
Mazepin Snr also suggested in the interview that stepping into the team’s ownership remains a goal of his, but he is currently not in talks with any outfit to prospectively buy into.
"Our plans are sufficiently ambitious," he stated. "As you know, we were in competition to buy into a team [Force India], that didn't come off.
"I guess I will say we're open to any challenge, and if there's an opportunity for us to own a team we will make it happen.
"It's clear that we as a sponsor don't just have the unitary goal of backing Nikita, helping him grow, wishing him luck. We have a wider view.
"Uralkali products are on the market in 70 countries of the world. Formula 1 races in 23 of those 70. And we want to use the F1 brand to promote our products and our company. And we're succeeding."