Formula 1: Nikita Mazepin saga takes another bizarre turn

Nikita Mazepin, Haas, Formula 1 (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Nikita Mazepin, Haas, Formula 1 (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) /

The most recent Nikita Mazepin ordeal has taken another bizarre twist, with the Haas-bound Formula 1 driver deleting his apology and much more from Twitter.

If you’ve gotten the sense, especially now that Red Bull have finally confirmed Sergio Perez for next year, that much of the focus throughout the upcoming Formula 1 offseason will be directed at the sport’s lone American team for a decision they made at the beginning of December, you may just be right.

Haas hired Formula 2 driver Nikita Mazepin, who is backed by his billionaire father Dmitry, to compete alongside Formula 2 champion Mick Schumacher for the 2021 season, effectively as a pay driver, something Haas admitted.

Just days later, a video featuring Mazepin reaching for a woman’s shirt and grabbing her breast appeared on his Instagram story, prompting calls for the team to fire him with the hashtag #WeSayNoToMazepin, with fans noting that what he did goes against everything the #WeRaceAsOne campaign supposedly stands for.

Haas, whose team principal Guenther Steiner had previously admitted that the organization had their work cut out for them given Mazepin’s checkered past, released the following statement.

"“Haas F1 Team does not condone the behavior of Nikita Mazepin in the video recently posted on his social media. 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.”"

Formula 1 and the FIA released a joint statement in response to Haas.

"“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.”"

Mazepin himself posted an apology.

"“I would like to apologise for my recent actions both in terms of my own inappropriate behaviour and the fact that it was posted on social media. 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.”"

But interestingly enough, the woman in the video, Andrea D’lVal, issued her own statement after the video went viral, which sent social media into a conspiracy theory craze regarding potential threats/payoffs.

"“Hey everyone, I just want to let you know that Nikita and I have been good friends for a long time and there was nothing serious about the video. 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 or humiliate me.”"

But now this ordeal has taken yet another interesting turn.

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Mazepin, who has not been active on social media at all since the video was shared, has now deleted his apology.

In fact, he has not only deleted the apology, but there are now no tweets by him on his account.

Haas have, however, said that the public may never be informed of how the matter is handled internally, and it would be quite difficult to mask a firing, so it does not appear that Mazepin is going to be losing his drive. Plus, he was included on the initial FIA entry list for 2021, despite the fact that the list was updated several days after the video emerged.

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The 2021 Formula 1 season is due to begin on Sunday, March 21 at Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit, one of the 13 casualties on the 2020 calendar as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with the Australian Grand Prix. Will Mazepin be on the grid?