The World Anti-Doping Agency [WADA] is currently investigating the new Russian flag-themed livery unveiled by Haas.
On Thursday, the team unveiled a new design on its car that will be run on the VF-21 that will make its debut on the first day of pre-season testing in Bahrain on March 12.
In being sponsored by Uralkali, a company owned by Dmitry Mazepin, the father of new Haas rookie driver Nikita, the car sports swooshes of the Russian flag on the front wing, nose, cockpit sides and engine cover.
It was recently announced by the World Anti-Doping Agency [WADA] that Russian athletes - which includes drivers in all of the FIA's world championships - are prohibited from using national emblems, flags or symbols.
The design, however, would appear to contravene a Court of Arbitration for Sport [CAS] ruling in the arbitration procedure between WADA and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency [RUSADA].
In December, CAS determined that Russian athletes are banned from world competition and can only compete under a neutral banner.
In article 4.(e).(v). of the CAS ruling, the body clearly states that Russian athletes "shall not display publicly the flag of the Russian Federation...on their clothes, equipment, or other personal items in a publicly visible manner at any official venues or other areas controlled by the signatory or its appointed event organiser".
The FIA is a signatory to WADA, and as such all its championships are subject to that organisation's code, which in turn applies to the CAS ruling.
The VF-21 is equipment that will be used by Mazepin this year, which is why WADA is now looking into the matter.
A WADA spokesperson said: "WADA is aware of this matter and is looking into it with the relevant authorities."
Haas and the FIA will likely argue that while the colours of the Russian flag may be prevalent, the VF-21 is run by an American team, while the colours on the logo of its primary sponsor, Uralkali, are red and white. These were recently changed.
When asked by GPFans Global about the matter after the livery launch, team boss Guenther Steiner insisted no rules had been circumvented.
“We came up with this livery already last year before all this came out from WADA about the Russian flag," said Steiner.
“Obviously we cannot use the Russian flag as the Russian flag, but you can use colours on a car. In the end, it’s the athlete which cannot display the Russian flag and not the team. The team is an American team.”
Asked whether Haas had been required to approach the FIA for approval for the livery, Steiner replied: “We are always in contact with the FIA about things like this. We worked it through with them."
As to whether the FIA specifically approved the livery, Steiner said: “I don’t think they can approve it. It’s WADA, it’s not an FIA rule.”
When contacted by GPFans Global for a response, an FIA spokesperson said: "The team has clarified the livery with the FIA. The CAS decision does not prohibit the use of the colours of the Russian flag.”
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.