Formula One team Haas have responded to their 2021 driver Nikita Mazepin posting footage on social media where he appears to be seen touching a woman inappropriately.
Mazepin, 21, features in the video which shows the woman sat in the back seat of a car.
In the clip, which has since been deleted, she appears to reject the Russian’s action before raising her middle finger.
While it has been taken down from his account, the footage has gained widespread attention online and Haas, who have added Mazepin to their ranks ahead of the 2021 season, have now released a strong-worded statement slamming his actions.
“Haas F1 Team does not condone the behaviour of Nikita Mazepin in the video recently posted on his social media,” the F1 team said.
“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.”
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Mazepin has since issued an apology on Twitter, admitting he needs to learn to hold himself “to a higher standard”.
“I would like to apologise for my recent actions both in terms of my own inappropriate behaviour and the fact that it was posted onto social media,” he wrote.
“I am sorry for the offense I have rightly caused and the embarrassment I have brought to Haas F1 Team.
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“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.”
However, the woman seen in the video has posted on Instagram herself to play down the incident.
“Hi guys, I just want to let you know Nikita and I have been good friends for a long time and nothing from that video was serious at all!” she said.
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“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 a really good person and he would never do anything to hurt or humiliate me.”
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