Forced to leave Formula 1 in March following Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Nikita Mazepin published a long message for the five drivers leaving the paddock at the end of the year.
They are four. Four drivers contested their last Grand Prix this Sunday in Abu Dhabi before taking a break, desired or not, with Formula 1. Sebastian Vettel has decided to retire, while Daniel Ricciardo, Nicholas Latifi and Mick Schumacher have been pushed towards the exit. Nikita Mazepin went through this stage last March, when he was fired by Haas following Russia’s attack on Ukraine, and he sent a long message to these four former colleagues, via his social networks, to give them funny advice.
« I was this weekend at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. I was delighted to be here as a guest and to see old friends. It made me think of some words of wisdom I can share with Seb, Daniel, Nicky and Mick as they prepare to move on. So here are the five steps that await you when you leave the stable. Step 1: Denial. You will find yourself driving in a circle around your building. Don’t make the mistake I made, start your stopwatch. It’s entirely possible that another F1 team is interested in your results and you don’t have to endure the next 4 steps. Stage 2: Anger. You blame everyone but yourself for having to leave F1. In particular the film crew of “Drive to Survive” (the Netflix documentary, editor’s note). You watch the races obsessively and scream at the screen. Step 3: Negotiation. You hold a press conference where you put on a brave face and thank the manager of the team that fired you in hopes that your cheerful smile and natural charm will get you a place on a new team. Stage 4: Depression. Drinking, partying on a yacht, sleeping, gaining 5 kilos. Repeat endlessly. It won’t be an easy step to take, but your friends will appreciate it. Step 5: Acceptance. Congratulations. You have reached the finish. You stop obsessing over F1 and start thinking about your next steps…while keeping fit and keeping the door open for a comeback! »
And to conclude, with a word for each: “ To Sebastian: Total respect for your climate initiatives. I’m sure they will be of great use, and not just to the racing community. To Daniel: I know you will always keep your sense of humor. I predict big things for you in stage 4, where you can drink all kinds of things in your shoes. Be creative! A Nicholas: Thanks to you, the team and the fans can look to the future with optimism. No doubt you will surprise us. To Mick: We grew together in this sport and I wish you good luck for the future. Peace and love for all.«