• Nikita Mazepin is in hot water after his disreputable behaviour.
• Mazepin will race for the Haas team in 2021, but fans want him removed.
• The 20-year old is backed by his billionaire father, Dmitry.
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
Nikita Mazepin is in plenty of hot water following the groping incident earlier this month. The 2021 Haas Formula 1 driver uploaded a video onto his Instagram account where he reaches from the passenger seat of a vehicle to grope a woman in the rear of the vehicle before deleting it from his profile.
However, the clip was up just long enough for several users to download it and share on social media. The Haas F1 team has since labelled Mazepin's actions as 'abhorrent', but stated that they would deal with the matter internally.
Haas' seeming inability to address Mazepin's public act publicly has left many fans angry and disappointed, so much so that a petition has been drawn up to prevent the driver from making his F1 debut next year. At the time of writing this article, more than 35 000 signatures were added to the petition, closing in on the 50 000 target. By Friday night (18 Dec), more than 41 000 signatures had been added in total.
The abhorrent behaviour
In recent years, the FIA, motorsport's governing body, and F1 went to a lot of trouble in ensuring that men and women have equal opportunity and a chance at a career in motorsport. And while we are not yet where we need to be, the bridge is closing and are we seeing more women taking up seats in various motorsport codes.
Mazepin's actions stand in contrast to the values the FIA and F1 are instilling and brings the sport in disrepute. Should no action be taken against him, it will set a precedent the sport will struggle to come back from.
Sadly, the situation runs far deeper than we might think, because Mazepin's father has, allegedly, already invested in Haas even before his son takes to the track for the team. According to GrandPrix247, Dmitry Mazepin "injected $20-million into the American team for next year, with options for the same amount in 2022". The Haas F1 team is in dire financial straits, so much so that the team seriously considered exiting the sport at the end of the 2020 season. However, an agreed-upon sliding scale budget cap for all teams convinced Gene Haas, team owner, to remain in F1.
Regardless, no amount of money can excuse Nikita Mazepin's actions, but his father's deep pockets will probably see that his actions are excused.
But Mazepin's behaviour does not only resort to his blatant disrespect towards women. In the final race of the F2 season, the Russian driver was handed two five-second time penalties following the race in Sakhir, costing him his podium position, according to the FIA. The first five-second penalty came after the Hitech Grand Prix driver was found to have forced Yuki Tsunoda off track and into the pit lane exit during a battle between the pair.
Keith Collantine wrote in a RaceFans.net article on 5 December: "Mazepin's four penalty points puts him on a total of eleven, which leaves him one away from 12 which would trigger an automatic one-event ban."
Mazepin was involved in four incidents of which only two were investigated and penalised all in just one race at the Sakhi event.
Below are some of the tweets that went out against Nikita Mazepin.
I said it a week or so ago, but if Haas or the FIA allow Nikita Mazepin to race in F1 next year, it’ll be a massive slap in the face to all sexual abuse victims.— Nicola (@nicola_jane98) December 16, 2020
This is not racing as one. The FIA don’t race as one if they allow this to be swept under the carpet.
Allowing this monster into our sport is a massive step BACKWARDS.— Nicola (@nicola_jane98) December 16, 2020
It proves that money means more to these people than anything else.
It allows others who look up to this ‘being’ to think this behaviour is okay. And it isn’t. It never will be.
Its tough. Mazepin is disgusting but I assume his $$$ will keep several of the good hard working people at haas employed. He needs to be punished, so he can possibly learn & grow (doubtful). I belive the FIA needs to step in & suspend his license for 1 year as the governing body.— The Motorsport Maniac (@TheMsportManiac) December 16, 2020
@F1 @fia Why are you not intervening and taking a stronger stance against the actions of @nikita_mazepin ?? His ejection from the sport should have been immediate and by its governing body. Is Russian money that powerful? #WeSayNoToMazepin #WeRaceAsOne DO SOMETHING!— Lewis Atkinson (@lewy_atkinson) December 16, 2020
@fia we demand that you remove Nikita Mazepin from F1 as a violation of the second point of the Appendix B International Sports Coding. Not only has he violated this code more than once, but by allowing him to race, you are going against everything you supposedly stand for.— Karina Patel #WeSayNoToMazepin (@Karinapatelx) December 9, 2020
TEAM STATEMENT: Haas F1 Team does not condone the behavior of Nikita Mazepin in the video recently posted on his social media. Additionally, the very fact that the video was posted on social media is also abhorrent to Haas F1 Team. (1/2)— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) December 9, 2020