The Haas Formula One team says it has dealt internally with the matter of Nikita Mazepin’s “abhorrent” social media video and re-iterated that the 21-year-old will drive for the team next year.
The Russian, who is set to make his Formula One debut in Melbourne in March, posted a video to social media earlier this month, showing him groping an Instagram influencer in a car.
Haas says it has dealt with the matter, but didn’t elaborate on what, if any, action had been taken, but did confirm Mazepin will line up alongside fellow rookie Mick Schumacher in 2021.
“Haas F1 team would like to reaffirm that Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher will form its driver lineup for the 2021 FIA Formula 1 world championship,” the team said in a statement.
“As per the team’s previous statement regarding the actions of Nikita Mazepin (December 9) – this matter has now been dealt with internally and no further comment shall be made.”
Mazepin finished fifth in this year’s F2 championship, and was signed by Haas largely on the back of the amount of sponsorship money he brings to the cash-strapped team.
He is the son of Russian billionaire Dmitry Mazepin.
At the time the video surfaced, the team labelled the incident as “abhorrent.”
“Haas F1 Team does not condone the behaviour of Nikita Mazepin in the video recently posted on his social media. Additionally, the very fact that the video was posted on social media is also abhorrent to Haas F1 Team. The matter is being dealt with internally,” the team said in a statement earlier this month.
In the video, Mazepin is seen reaching from the front seat of a car and touching the chest of a woman sitting in the back seat. The woman moves her hand in reaction to being touched, before raising her middle finger and covering the camera.
The woman in the video – who goes by the name Alma Del Caribe on social media – later claimed that she uploaded the video as a joke and had no ill-will towards Mazepin, saying they were friends.
Formula 1 is under pressure to take action, having previously said it was a matter for the Haas team. However, in a season where the sport has made much of the #WeRaceAsOne slogan, the governing body has been missing in action.
Mazepin already has a lengthy history of bad behaviour both on and off the track. In 2016 he was banned for a race after punching rival Callum Illot in the face, while earlier this month he demanded nude pictures from a female fan in exchange for race tickets.
He’s previously endorsed racist comments on social media, and trolled rising F1 star George Russell, who filled in for Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes when the world champion was sidelined with COVID-19.
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