Nikita Mazepin has not yet had his first Formula 1 race and is already known as one of the most controversial drivers who has the highest category of motorsport. First of all, we have to remember that just after the Russian driver was announced that he was going to drive as a starting driver for the Haas F1 team during the 2021 season, a video in which Mazepin could be seen touching a woman's breast was published via social media, which was to be expected to cause a lot of controversy, which happened. Neither Formula 1 nor the FIA decided to take action against the driver, however, Haas released a statement in which it was mentioned that this fact had been "abhorrent" and the North American team affirmed that the matter would be dealt with internally, avoiding any type of statement about it. A few days after the announcement, Nikita Mazepin offered an apology for his actions. Today, March 4, 2021, the Russian driver spoke to the press for the first time since that incident and reaffirmed his apology.
“How I reflect on my actions is pretty clear, I’m not proud of it. I didn’t behave as I’m meant to behave, being in Formula 1 and the transition phase of realising what I have achieved has been very short, and I didn’t adapt to it as I should have had.” Mazepin affirmed during an open media call.
“I’ve taken responsibility for it, and I’m ready to keep doing so.”
“I am pretty sure that I will be delivering on track. I’m confident with the effort I’m putting in and the direction I’m taking, the results will be there, and I’m going to try and have the racing do the talking.”
A hashtag has become popular on social networks and it is #WeSayNoToMazepin, which is clearly a symbol of opposition to the Russian driver for his actions committed, which are not acceptable for a Formula 1 driver. This hashtag is quite observed in any post from the Haas team or the driver himself, however, Mazepin also thanked his team as they helped him rethink his actions.
“They have been really supportive in helping me to learn from this incident. They’ve been very patient in taking the time and helping me learn from this matter further, and I think that in my education phase on the whole behaviour, I’m way further than I’ve ever been, so that is very helpful.” Mazepin commented.
“Graduating to Formula 1 and being a Formula 1 driver means that all of a sudden, you become an example to a lot of young kids who are aiming to get into the same championship. With that, you have to bring a certain way of behaviour towards yourself. I haven’t done it instantly.”
Finally, when he was asked if he had understood that the behaviour he showed during the incident was unacceptable not only as an F1 driver but as a human being, Mazepin commented: “Yes, I understand. I’ve taken responsibility for it, as I said previously.” At the end of the interview, he refused to admit whether he had apologized to the woman or not since that was a “private matter”.