Haas boss Guenther Steiner has stressed that the team are taking Nikita Mazepin’s recent behaviour and shocking social media post “seriously” and are “dealing internally” with their recently-signed Formula 1 2021 driver.
Earlier this week, a video emerged on Mazepin’s Instagram story of the 21-year-old Russian appearing to grope a woman’s chest in a car. The video was later deleted, but was shared elsewhere on social media to widespread criticism.
Haas described Mazepin’s actions as “abhorrent”, while Mazepin – who was only confirmed as a Haas driver for next season last week – issued a statement apologising “for the offence I have rightly caused and to the embarrassment I have brought to Haas”.
- Haas condemn ‘abhorrent’ Mazepin behaviour, video
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 at the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP, Steiner wouldn’t be drawn on concerns over damage to Haas’ reputation or Mazepin’s future, but said the team, intent on keeping the matter private, will “deal with it”.
“We are dealing internally with it and that’s the only thing I want to say,” the Haas team principal stated.
“We take it seriously, what happened, and we will deal with it.”
Steiner added: “I just want to say trust us, we will deal with it.”
Mazepin finished fifth in the Formula 2 championship this season, and has signed a multi-year deal with Haas.
Formula 1 and governing body the FIA issued a joint statement on Thursday supporting Haas on its response to Mazepin’s inappropriate actions.
It read: “We strongly support the Haas F1 Team in its response to the recent inappropriate actions of its driver, Nikita Mazepin,” the statement reads.
“Mazepin has issued a public apology for his poor conduct and this matter will continue to be dealt with internally by the Haas F1 Team.
“The ethical principles and diverse and inclusive culture of our sport are of the utmost importance to the FIA and Formula 1.”
The video was posted on Mazepin’s Instagram on Tuesday night.
The woman in the video, who pushed Mazepin’s hand away from the back seat before putting her middle finger up to the camera, said she posted the clip on Mazepin’s story as an “internal joke” and defended his behaviour.
Mazepin drove for Mercedes in an official F1 test last year and has conducted a private testing programme with the world champions in an old car during 2020.
Speaking on Friday, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the Russian had not been scheduled to appear for them in next week’s young driver test in Abu Dhabi. Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries, Mercedes’ Formula E drivers, are completing the end-of-season running.
“We had an extensive testing programme with him [Mazepin] throughout the year with a two-year-old car,” Wolff told Sky Sports. “But for the young driver test we decided on the line-up over the last few days and providing the opportunity to Stoffel and Nyck is good.
“They are our works drivers in Formula E and they have done a super solid job. Also, with Stoffel not being in the car last week [subbing for Hamilton], it just made sense to put the two in the car.”
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