Haas F1 team dismisses “false” allegations it broke Russian sanctions

A story on American broadcaster PBS alleged that the Haas Automation company had directly provided machines and parts to Russia, which would be in violation of US export control and sanctions regulations. 

However, in a detailed statement hitting back at the claims, Haas has made it clear that it has always been in full compliance with US government laws and that no machines have been exported to Russia since 3 March, 2022. 

The PBS story made reference to 18 Haas machines being used in Russia, but the American company has explained that these had been shipped to the country prior to sanctions coming in to force. 

Haas also explained that it terminated the relationship it had with its Russian distributor, even though it was not formally required to do so. 

The statement said: “On 3 March, 2022, shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Haas Automation terminated, in its entirety, its relationship with its sole existing independent distributor for Russia and Belarus, Abamet Management.  

“Since that date, Haas has not sold or shipped any machines, parts, or software to Abamet or anyone else in Russia.  This crucial fact was made clear to the PBS reporter before the story was aired.  

“Additionally, at the time it terminated its relationship with Abamet in March, Haas voluntarily cancelled 50 existing machine orders from Abamet, even though such orders may have been permissible under then existing U.S. export control and sanctions regulations.” 

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23, Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23, Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Haas added that it was a ‘falsehood’ to suggest that shipments of equipment were made up until October last year. 

And while Haas acknowledged that equipment it had previously sold could have changed ownership after it had been released, it suggested any such movement would have been without its approval. 

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“While Haas did not have physical control over such products, all of the products were subject to Abamet’s certification to Haas that it would not export any Haas products in violation of applicable U.S. export control and sanctions laws, and Haas is certainly not aware of any instances where it did so,” it added. 

“Simply put, if any shipments of Haas manufactured machines or components occurred after March 3, 2022, such shipments were made, unbeknownst to Haas, by Abamet or one of Haas’ numerous other customers around the world.   

“Any such shipments would have been made in direct contravention of express Haas policy with regard to Russia following its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.” 

Haas went on to explain that it further severed ties it had with all Russian companies in the wake of the Ukraine invasion, including the Uralkali sponsorship deal of its F1 team that cost it millions of dollars of revenue. 

Haas added: “It is a bitter irony, therefore, that the PBS report paints Haas as being supportive of the Russian military, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

“At a time when Americans are struggling to develop the most effective course of conduct in support of Ukraine, it is irresponsible in the extreme for PBS to present this poorly-sourced hit piece, which ignores basic facts and asserts other facts that are clearly false.” 

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