Nikita Mazepin is facing internal action from Haas after posting a social media video of himself groping a female in a car.
The Russian driver — who will step up from Formula 2 to race for Haas next season — quickly deleted the video that was posted to his Instagram story, in which he reached back from the front passenger seat to grab a woman who was sitting behind him. Despite Mazepin removing the post, it received backlash on other social media channels and Haas released a statement condemning the video and its content.
“Haas F1 Team does not condone the behavior of Nikita Mazepin in the video recently posted on his social media,” a team statement read. “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 and no further comment shall be made at this time.”
Mazepin subsequently posted an apology on his social media channels, although there was no mention of any punishment.
“I would like to apologize for my recent actions both in terms of my own inappropriate behavior and the fact that it was posted onto social media,” Mazepin wrote. “I am sorry for the offense 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.”
The apology did not reference the woman in the video who Mazepin had tagged in the original post, but the account he had mentioned was for fashion model Andrea D’IVal, who has since issued a statement defending the 21-year-old.
“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!” D’IVal wrote. “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 really a good person and he would never do anything to hurt me or humiliate me.”