After the American F1 team Haas confirmed that Nikita Mazepin will no longer race for them in the 2022 series, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has admitted that he is “in two minds” about his contract termination.
The beginning of the 2022 season has already seen huge drama as the Formula 1 cancels its contract with the Russian Grand Prix, Motorsport UK bans any Russian and Belarusian drivers from competing in the UK, and Haas removes its title sponsor Uralkali and its driver. But now, those in F1 are able to look back and fully understand what’s happened as the effects of Russia attacking Ukraine rips through the sport.
Wolff has talked to BloombergTV about how he feels, and while he supports all that has happened, he does feel sympathetic to those who have been affected:
“I’m in two minds because for Nikita himself he is a guy that merits to be in Formula 1, he can drive.
“You can see that some of the sports’ leagues have decided to allow Russian athletes to compete and others have been stronger in denying them access.
“I think as an athlete it is a difficult but to support the robust sanctions you can understand why.”
Wolff also supports the move to cancel the Russian GP, but adds that F1 as a sport is very small compared to what’s currently going on in the world:
“I am Austrian, and Austria Vienna is only 400 km from Ukraine, and who would have thought that we would see another war in Europe?
“Formula 1 and the sport seem so minuscule in that context, so we decided not to race in Sochi and I think that Formula 1 has given a robust statement like many other industries in the world.”
“I think this is the overwhelming topic today and it allows us to reflect on all the little annoyances we have in the sport that there is so much more important than this.
“We have Ukrainians and Russians on the team, it is certainly not easy for all the individuals who have families there.
“It is tough times and, from a personal perspective, having grown up in Vienna with parents of Slavic background, I feel what is happening even closer to my heart.”