Toto Wolff has admitted that Haas’ decision to fire Nikita Mazepin is complicated to hear in Formula 1. For the Austrian, Nikita Mazepin pays the consequences of a situation that an athlete cannot control.
Haas announced on Saturday morning that it had terminated the Russian driver’s contract due to his country’s invasion of Ukraine. An invasion condemned worldwide.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says he supports Formula 1 not racing in Russia, but he understands the difficulties it brings to Russian drivers like Nikita Mazepin.
During his appearance on Bloomberg, Toto Wolff talked about the conflict in Ukraine and Formula 1’s decision not to race in Russia.
“I am Austrian, and I am 100km away from Ukraine border,” Wolff said.
“Who would have thought that it’s possible to have a war in Europe. Formula 1 and sports in general appear so minuscule in that context.
“So, we have decided not to race in Russia, and I think F1 has given a robust statement in that relation aligned with any other industries in the world.
The talk was filmed before it was announced that Nikita Mazepin will not be driving for Haas this season, but even then Toto admitted he sympathises with the Russian driver.
“I’m in two minds, because for Nikita himself, he’s a guy that managed to be in Formula 1, he can drive.
“I think as an athlete himself, it’s difficult, but I think in a way to support the robust sanctions that have been implemented, you can understand why it could go in either direction.”
Wolff was then asked about the topic of diversity in Formula 1, and how it will be affected by this devastating conflict.
“I think this is the overwhelming topic today. I think it allows us to reflect on all the annoyances that we have in the sport, which are so much more important than this.
“We have Ukrainians and Russians on the team, certainly not easy for individuals that have families there. So, it’s been tough times, certainly from a personal perspective.
“Having grown in Vienna with parents that come from a Slavic background, it’s very close to my heart what’s happening,” the Austrian concluded.
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