LONDON • The Haas Formula One team condemned new signing Nikita Mazepin for “abhorrent” behaviour yesterday, after the young Russian posted and then deleted a video in which he groped a female passenger in a car.
The clip, first posted in an Instagram story, continued to circulate online after its removal.
“Haas F1 team does not condone the behaviour of Nikita Mazepin in the video recently posted on his social media,” the team said in a statement from Abu Dhabi, where they are preparing for the final race of the season on Sunday.
“Additionally, the very fact that the video was posted on social media is also abhorrent to Haas F1 team,” it added, saying the matter was being dealt with internally.
Mazepin, son of a Russian billionaire who made his fortune in fertilisers, apologised on Twitter for his “inappropriate behaviour” and the fact that the video was posted.
“I am sorry for the offence I have rightly caused and to the embarrassment I have brought to Haas F1 team,” added the 21-year-old.
“I have to hold myself to a higher standard as a Formula One driver and I acknowledge I have let myself and many people down. I promise I will learn from this.”
The woman in the video, model Andrea D’lVal, shared her own statement on Instagram, insisting that she and Mazepin are “good friends”, that the video was a “joke” and she was the one who posted it on his story. She added that “he would never do anything to hurt or humiliate me”.
Last week, Mazepin was named as a Haas driver for 2021 along with Mick Schumacher, son of seven-time world champion Michael.
While Schumacher won the Formula Two title in Bahrain at the weekend, Mazepin was handed two penalties for forcing one rival off track and blocking another.
He finished the F2 season fifth overall, enough to gain an F1 superlicence.
He also stood out for accruing 11 penalty points, one short of triggering a ban.
Haas team principal Gunther Steiner said the penalties were part of learning. “These things happen when your brain goes away,” he added.