Haas is not bowing to social pressure to oust 2021 recruit Nikita Mazepin. Some social media users, including members of the specialist Formula 1 media, called on the American team to oust the Russian rookie after footage emerged of Mazepin allegedly groping a female friend.
“Haas F1 Team would like to reaffirm that Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher will form its driver lineup for the 2021 FIA Formula 1 world championship,” the team said.
“As per the team’s previous statement regarding the actions of Nikita Mazepin, this matter has now been dealt with internally and no further comment shall be made.”
Kevin Magnussen’s departing team sponsor Jack and Jones also weighed into the controversy, clarifying that while the deal was always scheduled to end, the company “takes distance from the behaviour of Nikita Mazepin”.
As for 21-year-old Mazepin, whose father Dmitry is tipped to sponsor Haas via the Uralkali brand, he said he is used to being criticised.
“There are certain reasons unrelated to the racing world for which I am perhaps treated a little differently,” he told Match TV.
“I am used to it and absolutely unbothered by it.”
Mazepin also admitted that he is likely to spend his first season in Formula 1 next year near the very back of the grid.
“Most probably I will fight with no one,” he told the Russian broadcaster. “It is important to remain realistic as we are expecting a difficult season. I don’t think there are many cars that we can compete with.”