F1 team boss Steiner: Haas aware of 'strong' social media response to Nikita Mazepin

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Nikita Mazepin
Nikita Mazepin
Nikita Mazepin

• Haas F1 team continue to get flack for posting anything about their controversial new driver, Nikita Mazepin.
• The #SayNoToMazepin hashtag is a regular trend in response to any tweets Haas posts.
• Team owner Gene Haas is also hoping Mazepin has learned his lesson
• For more motoring stories, go to Wheels24.

Haas' management has noted the "strong" reaction to Russian driver Nikita Mazepin whenever the team posts news on social media sites, according to Guenther Steiner.

Last year, Mazepin courted controversy when he posted a video of himself groping a female in the back of a car.

The then Formula 2 driver immediately apologised, only to later delete said apology.

The #SayNoToMazepin hashtag became a regular trend in response to any tweets Haas posted, but the team ultimately decided to stick with the driver.

Almost three months after that video, Haas are still dealing with angry fans.

Posting photos on Thursday (18 Feb) of the Russian driver's visit to the team's factory, fans responded with "What is he doing here? Why isn't he out of the team yet?" while others questioned Haas' morals in all of this.

Steiner again backed his driver, insisting that while fans are entitled to their own opinions he feels Mazepin has learned.

"Having Nikita at the factory was good for us all as it means we are getting closer to the start of the season, frankly," the team boss told RACER.

"We continue to have dialogue with Nikita about many things, including what happened at the end of last season.

"He took immediate responsibility for his actions — he apologised. He's learned from this experience, he's undoubtedly been chastened by it, and he will apply that moving forward in his Formula 1 career.

"The response on social media towards him is still strong, we are naturally aware of that via our team posts.

"While respecting that people are entitled to voice their opinions, no matter how vigorous, as a team we feel we have provided Nikita with the best environment to learn from this and now with Bahrain fast approaching, the opportunity to concentrate on the season ahead."

Team owner Gene Haas is also hoping Mazepin has learned his lesson.

"Our response to it was I think Guenther told him he was an idiot and you can't do things like that and it was totally unacceptable," said the American.

"I think he got a lot of criticism from all sides that just piled on him — he's 21 years old, for a young man the deluge of criticism must have been difficult to take, so I'm hoping it's a good lesson learned.

"We'll just have to see how that goes. The social media response from all kinds of groups was extremely strong, wanting us to execute him for what he did, but that didn't feel like the right course either."

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