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Formula One’s Nikita Mazepin apologizes for groping woman in Instagram video

Mazepin, apologized for “my own inappropriate misbehavior” and for “the fact that it was posted on social media.”

“I am sorry for the offense I’ve caused and the embarrassment I have brought to the Haas team,” he added. “I’ve let myself and many people down. I have to hold myself to a higher standard. I will learn from this.”

Haas said in a statement that it would deal with the matter internally and planned no further comment. “Haas F1 Team does not condone the behavior of Nikita Mazepin in the video recently posted on his social media,” it said. “Additionally, the very fact that the video was posted on social media is also abhorrent to Haas F1 Team.”

Mazepin has been driving in Formula Two races, but last week was named to the Haas team in which his father, Russian billionaire Dmitry Mazepin, has invested. He is to join Mick Schumacher, the Formula Two champion and son of legendary driver Michael Schumacher, for the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

The financial relationship between Dmitry Mazepin, who owns Uralchem Integrated Chemicals Company, and the Haas Team came under scrutiny, with Guenther Steiner, the Haas Team principal, confirming that Mazepin and the team have a commercial relationship.

“There’s a lot of drivers who get into F1 with financial backing,” Steiner told Autosport. “There are very good drivers in F1 who in the beginning brought a sponsor. The first one to call is Checo [Sergio Perez]. Checo came to F1 and it was, ‘He’s a pay driver.’ Look at Checo now, he finished on the podium, he’s doing a good job.

“George Russell for me is one of the best drivers, but without the help of Mercedes he wouldn’t be anywhere. There’s a lot of them there. Lance Stroll, he was on the podium. If they are good in F2, and they have a sponsor, that’s a perfect solution.”

Mazepin finished fifth in the Formula Two standings, winning twice and placing high enough to be granted the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) license needed for F1. Last weekend in racing in Bahrain, he was penalized twice, leaving him one point shy of a race ban.

“I could say that I didn’t see the race, but that would be cheating,” Steiner said. “So, I say that Nikita fought very hard and got a penalty, which is part of his learning progress. He has to understand that such mistakes must not occur in Formula 1.”

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