Haas dealing with Nikita Mazepin, F1 squad seriously
Nikita Mazepin's video appearing to sexually touch a woman in a car's back seat appeared earlier this week; Haas boss Guenther Steiner reiterates that the team is dealing with the matter internally, but takes it seriously"
Haas manager Guenther Steiner said the team is "seriously" taking Nikita Mazepin's recent actions and surprising social media post and "dealing internally" with their newly signed Formula 1 2021 driver.
Earlier this week a video on Mazepin's 21-year-old Russian's Instagram story appeared to grope a woman's chest in a car. The video was later removed, but posted on social media for widespread criticism.
Haas characterized Mazepin's behavior as "abhorrent" while Mazepin, who had only been confirmed as a Haas driver for next season last week, released a statement apologizing for for the offence I have rightly caused and to the embarrassment I have brought to Haas"
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 at the Abu Dhabi GP season-end, Steiner wouldn't be drawn on questions about harm to Haas' reputation or Mazepin's future, but said the team, adamant on keeping the matter private, would "deal with it"
"We are dealing internally with it and that's the only thing I want to say," said Haas team chief.
"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 this season's Formula 2 championship, signing a multi-year Haas contract.
Formula 1 and FIA's governing body released a joint statement Thursday endorsing Haas' response to Mazepin's inappropriate behavior.
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 wrongdoing, and the Haas F1 Team will continue to discuss this issue internally.
"The ethical principles and diverse and inclusive culture of our sport are of the utmost importance to the FIA and Formula 1."
Mazepin's Instagram shared the video on Tuesday night.
The woman in the video, who moved Mazepin's hand away from the back seat before placing her middle finger to the camera, said she posted the clip as a "internal joke" on Mazepin's story and defended his behaviour.
Last year, Mazepin raced for Mercedes in an official F1 test and conducted a private training program with world champions in an old car in 2020.
Speaking on Friday, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the Russian wasn't expected to appear in Abu Dhabi's young driver test next week. Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries, Mercedes' Formula E drivers, are completing the end-of-season race.
"We've had a comprehensive training program with him [Mazepin] over the year with a two-year-old car," Wolff told Sky Sports. "But for the young driver test we've agreed on the line-up over the last few days to give Stoffel and Nyck a fair chance.
"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."