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Wolff in "two minds" over Mazepin axe

Wolff in "two minds" over Mazepin axe

Wolff in "two minds" over Mazepin axe

Wolff in "two minds" over Mazepin axe

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has conceded Haas' decision to axe Nikita Mazepin has left him in "two minds" over the situation.

Haas announced on Saturday morning it had terminated the contract of the Russian driver as a result of his country's invasion of Ukraine that has resulted in global condemnation.

The decision went against the advice of the FIA which had expressed a willingness to allow Russian and Belarusian drivers and teams to continue to compete in its series provided they signed a legally-binding waiver effectively foregoing all affiliation to their countries while in competition.

Wolff can see both sides of the argument from Haas and the FIA which had spurned the International Olympic Committee's request to ban athletes from Russia and Belarus.

"I’m in two minds because for Nikita himself he is a guy that merits to be in Formula 1, he can drive," said Wolff, speaking on Bloomberg TV.

"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 himself it is difficult but, in a way, to support the robust sanctions that have been implemented you can understand why it could go in either direction."

Prior to Haas' decision, F1 had previously taken a strong stance by declaring its deal cancelled with the promoters of the Russian Grand Prix.

Wolff believes that, at least, was the right move to make.

Given his own background, with Polish and Romanian parents and growing up in Vienna, just 400 kilometres from the Ukraine border, what has unfolded is almost unfathomable.

"Who would have thought it is possible to have a war in Europe?" questioned Wolff. "Formula 1, and sports generally, appear so minuscule in that context.

"So we have decided to not race in Russia and I think that Formula 1 has given a robust statement on that, aligned with 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, [at Mercedes] and 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 that come from a Slavic background, it is very close to my heart what is happening."

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