“Nikita himself is a guy that deserves to be in F1”: Mercedes boss Toto Wolff offers support to Mazepin after the Russian’s contract termination by Haas
|Published March 07, 2022
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff feels Nikita Mazepin deserves to be in F1 on his own merit and that Haas shouldn’t have removed him.
Earlier this week Haas F1 team announced that Mazepin’s contract had been terminated. This came a week after his country Russia waged war in Ukrainian territory, which was followed by swift sanctions against the nation and it’s businesses.
As a result, Uralkali, which is a fertilizer company owned by Mazepin’s father Dimitri, parted ways with Haas. With sponsor money gone, the American team saw no reason to extend Mazepin’s stay.
Not many people spoke in favor of Nikita Mazepin and his removal from Haas. Toto Wolff however, becomes the first notable F1 figure to do so. The Mercedes team boss feels that the 23-year old had been targeted just because of his nationality.
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“I’m in two minds,” said Wolff to Bloomberg TV. 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 difficult but to support the robust sanctions you can understand why.”
Also read: Haas F1 team reveal their future plans after parting ways with Mazepin and Uralkali
Situation with Nikita Mazepin is ‘miniscule’ compared to what’s happening, says Wolff
Wolff, who grew up in Vienna (just 400 kms from Ukraine), feels particularly affected by the ongoing war. The 50-year old supported F1’s decision to omit the Russian GP, and admits that under current circumstances, the sport feels ‘miniscule’.
“Formula 1 and the sport seem so miniscule in that context,” he continued. “So we decided not to race in Sochi and I think that F1 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.”
Also read: Max Verstappen reveals the messages he exchanged with Michael Masi following his sacking
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