Arbitration Panel Clears Haas F1 of Contract Breach with Uralkali

A Swiss arbitration panel has cleared Haas F1 of breaching their contract with Nikita Mazepin sponsor Uralkali but must refund the portion of the sponsor fee attributable to the time after the contract was lawfully terminated. This is just one of the cases covered in this week’s Motorsport Law Roundup as part of the Business of Motorsport. In addition to motorsport legal news, I have details on the British Grand Prix’s struggle to sell out this year’s race, possible new manufacturers racing in IMSA GTP and preparing for year 2 of both the Las Vegas Grand Prix and the NASCAR Chicago street races.

All this and the usual team news and sponsorship developments in this week’s Business of Motorsport Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. Its business news racers can use.

Motorsport Industry News

Formula 1

British Grand Prix

The promoters of the British Grand Prix are blaming the dominance of Max Verstappen and Red Bull on slow ticket sales but many others are pointing to ticket prices. “But if there is a strong likelihood of the same winner, and the jeopardy is taken out of sport, it does take the edge off it. Last year was very repetitive in terms of one team dominated and they set off this season in the same vein.”

The Athletic looks at how the Las Vegas Grand Prix will be preparing for their second year now that they have a playbook. “I wouldn’t say it’s easier in year two,” said Renee Wilm, the CEO of the Las Vegas Grand Prix. “But it is a significantly different experience.”

With the likelihood of Formula 1 rotating races between tracks due to demand outstripping supply, Speed Cafe looks at the impact of rotating F1 events. “It creates opportunities for venues that otherwise might not be able to commit to a long-term contract or afford F1’s hosting fees annually; the Belgian and Emilia Romagna Grands Prix are thought to be prime examples, with organisers in Zandvoort keen on having their event part of a rotation.”

General Motorsport Industry News

Next Gen P2

The ACO’s decision to abandon its original plans for the next-generation LMP2 regulations to be based on the LMDh spine and postpone the new regulations until 2028 has been met with approval from constructors, including Multimatic according to Sportscar365. “Holt said he approved of the choice to move away from LMDh spines as he feels that the tubs, including the one Multimatic produced for the Porsche 963, were not particularly well-suited to low-cost, privateer-based racing.”

Meanwhile in the Hypercar class, the ACO has confirmed that the current homologation cycle for the cars in the FIA World Endurance Championship Hypercar class has been extended for two additional years through until the end of the 2029 season. They have also confirmed that manufacturers competing in the Hypercar class of the World Endurance Championship will be required to run two cars from next season.

In more WEC news, the calendar is unlikely to expand to a ninth round until 2027, series boss Frederic Lequien has indicated following the reveal of next year’s schedule.

“It’s very important to stabilize the calendar in terms of the number of rounds,” said Lequien. “We strongly believe that eight is the right number at the moment. We have to pay strong attention to the teams’ budgets; this is something that is clear in WEC’s success today. I’m not saying it’s affordable, but it’s not F1-level budgets, so maybe this is the reason we have such big success.”

On the other side of the pond, IMSA and NBC Sports have announced a media rights extension while series boss John Doonan reveals that there could be new manufacturers in GTP as early as 2026 (see Team & Manufacturer News below).

“There’s several potential new manufacturers. It’s always their news to break but it seems quite positive with several additional new ones that we haven’t thought about before, which is great.”

As IndyCar moves to its new hybrid era, BlackBook Motorsport looks at what the series’ deal with Fox means for its future. “The series’ 16-year relationship with Comcast-owned NBC was fruitful, especially as the broadcaster was the first to truly go all-in on IndyCar. But it’s been clear for some time that the US championship was open to a fresh start with a different partner.”

NASCAR Chicago

When the inaugural Chicago NASCAR race was announced two years ago, many, including some in NASCAR garages, labeled the concept ludicrous. As AutoWeek explains, year 2 is about putting all of the pieces together again, turning one of America’s largest cities into a speedway.

“This year we’re still having all the same conversations, but the topics are different,” president Julie Giese said. “Last year was very much about education. What does it look like? How do you do it? What to expect. How do I move around the city during the race period? Last year we had over 150 meetings with businesses and organizations about their concerns and the opportunities. Now it’s about what worked and how it gets better. The conversations are easier now.”

The World Rally Championship (WRC) will race in Paraguay for the first time from next season. WRC’s official statement reveals this move realizes a ‘long-held ambition [of] returning to two events annually in South America’, implying that Chile will be retained on the calendar next season. This adds to the recent two-year deal signed for the Rally Islas Canarias and the ten-year agreement for the Rally Saudi Arabia.

New speakers have been announced at the 2024 edition of the Professional MotorSport World Expo. “PMW Expo 2024 will see the debut of a new forum for the discussion of advanced powertrain technologies. With a focus on technology transfer to mainstream automotive and beyond, attendees will receive unrivalled intelligence on the ways motorsport can drive developments that accelerate the decarbonisation of transport.”

Quick Takes on the Business of Motorsport This Week

Business of Motorsport

The Numbers

Business of Motorsport

Motorsport Law Roundup

A look at some of the legal and regulatory issues and analysis in Motorsport this week

Arbitration Panel Clears Haas F1 of Contract Breach with Uralkali

The Swiss arbitration court mediating the dispute between the Haas Formula 1 team and Uralkali over the former’s decision to end their sponsorship agreement following Russia’s 2022 Ukraine invasion has ruled that, while Haas had “just cause” to terminate its sponsorship contract with Uralkali thereby denying Uralkali’s claims for breach of contract, Haas was ordered to retain the portion of the sponsorship fee for the period before the termination, and refund any balance to Uralkali.

Northamptonshire Police have found no criminal offenses over an anonymous email accusing the Mercedes Formula 1 team of dangerous sabotage of Lewis Hamilton’s car.

“Northamptonshire Police received a report on 12 June regarding an email that had been circulated within the Mercedes AMG F1 Team,” a Northamptonshire police spokesperson told the BBC. “No criminal offences were found to have been committed. However, advice was given regarding any further emails the team may receive.”

The FIA International Court of Appeal has rejected Porsche’s appeal following Antonio Felix da Costa’s disqualification from the Misano E-Prix earlier this year.

Following a chance to evaluate the Stuttgart-based team’s evidence, the FIA released the following statement: “The Court, after having heard the parties and examined their submissions, decided to uphold Decision No. 31 dated 13 April 2024 of the Stewards of the Misano E-Prix event in Italy counting towards the 2023/2024 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. The International Court of Appeal was presided over by Mr Laurent ANSELMI (Monaco), and included, Mr Michael GRECH (Malta), Mr Marek MALECKI (Poland) and Mr Filippo MARCHINO (USA/Italy).”

In a new court document seen by The Race, Alex Palou claims he would be free to leave Chip Ganassi Racing to drive for McLaren if it offered him a full-time Formula 1 seat for 2025. “In their response, Palou and his legal team state that McLaren is required to prove that no other ‘A-level’ drivers were available by August 2023, and outlines two courses of action McLaren could have taken to avoid signing Malukas and thus receiving lower GM payments.”

A German court recently awarded damages to former F1 driver Michael Schumacher’s family in an artificial intelligence dispute over the unlicensed use of his image, illustrating how athletes are using the law to protect their brands, and setting a precedent in other AI-generated image rights cases explains William Bowyer at Lawrence Stephens.

PRI explains how it is critical that racers based abroad understand the laws governing bringing a race car across the United States border to compete on the track. To follow is information on the requirements of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Agency (CBP) to import a race vehicle into the U.S.

The process of importing a “purpose-built race car” should be fairly straightforward, but you must follow the rules in place. Suppose the vehicle was designed as a racing vehicle (i.e., it is a purpose-built race car that was never street-legal). In that case, it can be permanently imported into the U.S. by submitting an HS-7 Declaration form (checking Box 8) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to Customs at the time of entry. In addition, the importer must also attach a copy of a letter from the vehicle’s original manufacturer confirming that it was originally manufactured as a racing vehicle at the time of entry. It is possible to accomplish this process quickly at entry and no explicit approval from NHTSA is necessary to import the vehicle in these cases.

JD Supra explains the lessons on sponsorship agreements to be learned from the recent news that MLE has decided to bar Joey Chestnut from competing in Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest this Fourth of July.

“Should a meat eater be exclusive to just one wiener? If you’re just an amateur eater, you can probably eat whatever hot dog you want. But if you’re a professional eater, the analysis may change. MLE claims they have worked with Chestnut for years ​“under the same basic hot dog exclusivity provisions.” Chestnut, however, said he doesn’t have a contract with MLE or Nathan’s, and ​“they are looking to change the rules from past years as it related to other partners I can work with.””

Motorsport Sponsorship & Partnership News

Here are the latest motorsport sponsorship deals, partnerships and related analysis that were announced this week

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Team & Manufacturer News

Here is a roundup of the latest team news from around the world of motorsport

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Mark Boudreau
Author: Mark Boudreau

Mark is the publisher of Motorsport Prospects. As a former lawyer, he applies his legal background and research skills to assist race drivers by showcasing the resources they need to make their motorsport careers happen.