Haas team principal Guenther Steiner stated that rookie Formula 1 driver Nikita Mazepin “needs to grow up” following his most recent incident.
Nikita Mazepin has been in the news quite frequently throughout his journey to Formula 1, and it hasn’t always been for the right reasons. In fact, more often than not, he has gotten himself into trouble over the last few years.
The 21-year-old son of Russian billionaire Dmitry Mazepin, who is the majority shareholder and chair of Uralchem Integrated Chemicals Company, is set to compete in Formula 1 for the first time in the upcoming season alongside Formula 2 champion Mick Schumacher at Haas.
Unsurprisingly, he is set to do so with substantial financial backing from his father, something the sport’s lone American team confirmed when they signed him back in early December.
Just days after he signed with the team following his two-win sophomore season in Formula 2, which resulted in a fifth place finish in the driver standings, he posted a video of himself reaching for a woman’s shirt and grabbing her breasts.
Haas called the video and the action itself “abhorrent” and noted that the matter would be dealt with internally, which it was. Team principal Guenther Steiner even noted that maybe the public “will never know what was dealt with, and what are the circumstances”. While many fans called for Mazepin to be fired over the video, that was always going to be a longshot simply because of the fact that it would hard to keep a firing private.
Now Steiner has spoken more on the matter and about Mazepin in general.
Here is what he had to say, according to Reuters.
“This is a young man who needs to grow up and for sure we have dealt with this and we will continue to deal with this. We are not saying that this was OK and letting him get away with it. We are educating him and will keep on educating him for his future. There will be consequences if this or something similar happens again.
“We have put things in place that will help him to get better and make sure this doesn’t happen again; not to make the same mistake again, because this was a clear mistake. People have an opinion, that’s fine, also internally people didn’t like what happened, and this is why we continue to take this seriously. This is a distraction that we don’t want, but sometimes these things happen.”
Mazepin is set to make his Formula 1 debut in the 2021 season-opening Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday, March 21, although he may have to wait an extra week if reports about the delay of this race due to coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions prove to be true. He would then be slated to make his debut in the Bahrain Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday, March 28.