The lady in Nikita Mazepin’s “abhorrent” video has defended the 2021 Haas signing as a “really good person” who would never humiliate her.
Mazepin hasn’t even competed in his debut F1 grand prix and already he is making headlines, but for all the wrong reasons.
The driver’s antics at the season-ending Formula 2 race at the Sakhir circuit were condemned by Daniel Ricciardo while days later there was a public backlash after a video was posted on his social media showing the Russian driver groping a woman.
The video was quickly deleted but not before the hashtag #WeSayNoToMazepin began trending.
Mazepin has apologised for his actions with the lady from the video, Andrea D’lVal, taking to Instagram to defend her “good friend”.
“Hi guys, I just want to let you know Nikita and I have been good friends for a long time and nothing from that video was serious at all!” Instagram user almadelcaribe wrote on the social media site according to the NY Post.
“We trust each other so much and this was a silly way of joking between us. I posted this video on his story as an internal joke.
“I am truly sorry. I can give you my word he’s a really good person and he would never do anything to hurt me or humiliate me.”
Haas, meanwhile, have reiterated that they are taking the matter “very seriously”.
Team boss Guenther Steiner told Motorsport.com: “We take it very seriously, as you saw with what we sent out [in the statement].
“I just want to reinforce that, that we will deal with it.
“I’m not going into detail on what we’ll do and how we’ll do it, but we take it seriously, and we will work to sort this out, what happened. Nothing more to say.”
The team, though, will be dealing with the behaviour in private.
“That is part of it,” Steiner said when asked if they would be speaking with Mazepin about his general behaviour given his on and off-track antics that including punching Callum Ilott, “what we’re going to speak to him about privately.
“I don’t want to go public on how we are doing this. I just go back, I don’t want to comment any more.
“I guess I ask people to respect that privacy, because we treat it seriously.
“But we will deal with it.”
Haas will race Mazepin along with 2020 Formula 2 champion Mick Schumacher in next year’s championship, having decided to go with an all-rookie line up.