Report: F1 Team Sponsor Linked to Russian Army. Again.

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Haas Automation, which sponsors a Formula 1 team, has once again been accused of shady connections to Russia.


A PBS report suggests that Haas Automation has been supplying "several sanctioned enterprises in the Russian arms industry" with precision machining tools. If that's true, the Oxnard, California-based company would be violating American sanctions on Russia.

PBS cites documents filed with the Department of Commerce and the U.S. Treasury late in February. Those documents were filed by the Economic Security Council of Ukraine (ESCU) and allege that Haas is working the Russian arms industry and with Abamet Management LTD. Abamet is alleged to have bought equipment from Haas and then sold it to sanctioned Russian entities.

Denys Hutyk, a consultant with the ESCU, says that Russia published the procurements and it was able to trace things from there. The ESCU also used customs records.

Haas also supplies the U.S. military. Equipment produced by Haas is said to be much better at precision machining than Russian equipment.

Haas, for its part, denies this. From a Haas release:

Haas Automation is and has always been in full compliance with U.S. Government export control.
No machines have shipped from the Haas Automation factory to Russia since March 3, 2022.
The 18 machines referenced in the story left the Haas Automation factory prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Haas Automation voluntarily chose to terminate its relationship with the Russian distributor, which has never been required by any U.S. sanctions.
Haas Automation completely supports Ukraine and its people in their defense against Russia.

PBS pushes back, saying it reviewed customs records that showed shipments continued well past the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. PBS says it found at least 18 shipments from Haas directly to Russia between March 4, 2022, and October 2022. The shipments were worth a total of $2.8 million.

PBS notes that whether sanctions are in place or not, Russia's arms industry is reliant on equipment and technology supplied by other nations. A Ukrainian government body that sets sanction policy for that nation believes other Western companies, such as Germany's Siemens, are also providing equipment to Russia.

Back to Haas -- Hutyk believes that the company is continuing to maintain the equipment via software updates and with spare parts, and Haas should've known it was selling stuff that would be used in Russian military plants.

This isn't the first controversy involving Haas and the Russian invasion of Ukraine -- the Haas-sponsored F1 team dropped driver Dmitry Mazepin and sponsor Uralkali last year after Russia invaded Ukraine.

[Image: Haas Racing]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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3 of 19 comments
  • Mike Beranek Mike Beranek on Mar 20, 2023

    I wonder how many Russians are able to secure what they need by pretending to be Ukrainian. Or Polish. Or something else that some Americans are too clueless to figure out.

  • Bobbysirhan Bobbysirhan on Mar 20, 2023

    The Pulitzer Center that collaborated with PBS in 'reporting' this story is behind the 1619 Project.

    • EBFlex EBFlex on Mar 20, 2023

      So in a year and a half we will know the truth. Sounds typical from our state run media.


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