Haas has reaffirmed that Nikita Mazepin will remain one of its race drivers for the 2021 season despite posting a video on social media of him groping a female in a car.
Mazepin posted the video to his Instagram stories ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend, removing it after huge amounts of criticism of his actions. While the woman in the video initially defended the Russian driver and stated they were good friends, subsequent posts suggest she was not happy with the situation, while Mazepin himself deleted all of his tweets — including his apology — and changed his Twitter bio.
That simple act led to wild speculation that he had been dropped by Haas as Pietro Fittipaldi changed his own social media bio to reflect the fact that he had raced for the team in the final two rounds of the season. However, Haas has now issued a statement re-confirming its 2021 plans.
“Haas F1 Team would like to reaffirm that Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher will form its driver line-up for the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship,” the statement read. “As per the team’s previous statement regarding the actions of Nikita Mazepin (December 9), this matter has now been dealt with internally and no further comment shall be made.”
RACER understands further discussions are ongoing regarding action against Mazepin from a team point of view, but there is a desire to keep the result of it behind closed doors.
Haas turned to the all-rookie line-up to replace Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen as it needed to raise significant funds following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Mazepin coming with major backing from his father’s business interest Uralkali and Uralchem, while Formula 2 champion Schumacher us a Ferrari Driver Academy member.