Formula 1 and the FIA have issued a joint statement supporting Haas in their condemnation of driver Nikita Mazepin for his behaviour in an Instagram video.
Mazepin, who was signed by Haas only last week for the 2021 season, publicly apologised for causing offence and embarrassment after a video, which was later deleted, appeared on Instagram in which he groped a woman.
Haas said the “very fact the video was posted on social media was abhorrent” to them and that the matter was being dealt with internally.
Now F1 and the FIA have backed the American-owned team in their response, stressing the importance of the sport’s “ethical principles and diverse and inclusive culture of the sport”.
The statement in full read: “We strongly support the Haas F1 Team in its response to the recent inappropriate actions of its driver, Nikita Mazepin.
“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.”
FIA and Formula 1 joint statement on Nikita Mazepin:
"We strongly support the Haas F1 Team in its response to the recent inappropriate actions of its driver, Nikita Mazepin.
— F1 Media (@F1Media) December 10, 2020
Mazepin, 21, was announced last week, along with Mick Schumacher, as a Haas driver for 2021, the rookie pairing replacing experienced duo Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.
The Russian has also attracted headlines this season for his uncompromising racing style and Haas team principal Guenther Steiner admitted “we have got our work cut out” in order to refine his new driver’s craft on the track.
But it appears Haas will need to lay down the law to their new recruit away from the circuit as well.
In his apology, Mazepin said: “I would like to apologise for my recent actions both in terms of my own inappropriate behaviour and the fact it was posted onto social media.
“I am sorry for the offense (sic) I have rightly caused and to the embarrassment I have brought to Haas F1 team.
“I have to hold myself to a higher standard as a Formula 1 driver and I acknowledge I have let myself and many people down.
“I promise I will learn from this.”
Mazepin finished fifth, behind his 2021 Haas team-mate Schumacher who captured the title, in this season’s Formula 2 Championship. He was ninth in both of the final two races in Bahrain last weekend.