Nikita Mazepin, Haas, 2020

Haas swept their Mazepin problem under the carpet. Now it’s F1’s problem


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Haas’s confirmation today that a disgraceful video showing its driver Nikita Mazepin groping a woman in a car has not cost him his Formula 1 debut will appal many but surprise few.

Disquiet over Mazepin’s suitability for F1 had been voiced long before. In 2016 he was banned from a Formula 3 race – one of three being held on the weekend in question – for attacking Callum Ilott, leaving him with a black eye and swollen jaw. This year Mazepin ended his second season of F2 one penalty point away from qualifying for an automatic ban.

Nonetheless with gigantic backing behind him – his father, a petrochemicals billionaire, tried to buy the Force India Formula 1 team two years ago – Mazepin’s graduation to F1 was long regarded as a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’. His junior category results were creditable if not outstanding – second in GP3 in 2018, fifth in Formula 2 this year – but an extensive private F1 testing programme with multiple world champions Mercedes, not unlike Lance Stroll’s with Williams four years ago, means he will be more than ready.

For the seriously cash-strapped Haas outfit, a deal with Mazepin proved too lucrative to turn down. The team had already shown the door to both its regular drivers, Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, as it sought someone who would bring backing. “There was a big chance that we are not here anymore,” Steiner admitted last month.

Nikita Mazepin, Formula 2, Mugello, 2020
Mazepin’s on-track conduct has also drawn criticism
“We have got our work cut out,” he added separately when asked about Mazepin’s on-track conduct, unaware a far bigger scandal was just days away.

The video appeared eight days after Haas announced Mazepin’s 2021 debut. The footage was swiftly deleted, but had already been widely captured and shared. Haas reacted to it quickly, but carefully. While stating they “do not condone the behaviour of Nikita Mazepin in the video”, they saved their strongest language for the fact the footage was published on social media, which they described as “abhorrent”.

Mazepin also issued an apology, though it is no longer visible on his Instagram account. Around the same time the woman seen in the video – Andrea D’Ival – told her social media followers it had not been Mazepin, but herself who posted it.

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During the last race weekend of the season Steiner indicated the team was still in discussions with Mazepin over the affair but may keep the resolution private. “If we think we can live without [it] coming out, we’ll do that one,” he said.

Guenther Steiner, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Steiner admitted Haas came close to folding this year
Clearly Haas have decided they can live without making the resolution public, as all they announced today is that Mazepin will remain their driver for the 2021 F1 season and “this matter has now been dealt with internally”.

This inevitably prompts questions: What might Haas have said internally which cannot be shared externally? As Mazepin’s presence appears to be vital to the team’s existence at the moment, it’s hard to imagine it amounts to very much at all.

What reassurances have been given to the team’s staff about his behaviour? Those who have seen the video of an athletic man forcibly grabbing a young woman of slight build would be entirely justified to ask if they are safe to share a workplace with him.

Haas’s handling of the Mazepin affair will leave some wondering whether F1 needs a team who, in the words of its own driver, “weren’t really racing” at the end of the year, yet brings the sport into such ill repute.

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Haas’s problem has therefore become Formula 1’s problem. Already this year we’ve seen swift, decisive action in other series where drivers have behaved unacceptably. Formula E driver Daniel Abt cheated in a virtual race and paid for it with his job; NASCAR’s Kyle Larson faced the same after he was broadcast uttering a racial obscenity. These are, of course, not perfectly analogous incidents, but should F1 hold its drivers to a lower standard?

Formula E’s Abt lost his drive over a cheating row
Formula 1 has been keen to indicate the progress it has made in its treatment of women since Liberty Media took charge in place of Bernie Ecclestone, who infamously likened them to kitchen appliances. The use of ‘grid girls’ was scrapped immediately after they took over, and next year the all-female feeder category W Series will support eight rounds of the championship.

At the end of a year in which Formula 1 can be proud of its successful response to the unprecedented and unforeseen challenges of the pandemic, successfully holding an often thrilling 17-race championship, the Mazepin affair is a bitter coda which drags the sport into the gutter.

We’ve been told all year that in Formula 1, ‘We Race As One’. Allowing Mazepin to excuse his disgraceful behaviour with nothing more than an apology which has already disappeared will prove the hashtag does not ring true.

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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154 comments on “Haas swept their Mazepin problem under the carpet. Now it’s F1’s problem”

  1. Kieth, no offence but young people do stupid things all the time. In all honesty I had forgotten this incident took place but congratulations on trying to prolong a 20 second video which has been apologized for.

    1. That’s “”journalists”” for you pal
      They think they run the world and that they have some influence.
      They don’t.

      1. Don’t get me wrong, I love this website and Kieth makes Formula One better for me because of it but this kid has apologized, Haas has made a decision no matter why or how they came to it, so let’s drop it and give him another chance. Doesn’t matter how many he’s already had, everyone deserves to right a wrong and not have an internet mob determine his future.

        1. @canadianjosh

          Haas probably can’t do anything else, because the contracts have been signed and they can’t just break them.

        2. He recently removed his apology which I assume means that he doesn’t think his behaviour was wrong.

      2. Agreed! Journalists love turning a minor act of immaturity into an OMG OUTRAGE!!!!!! kind of thing.

        1. indeed @jblank – journalists love to hype things to the extreme, helps to bring in the cancel culture clicks in to view.

        2. Wait until Mazepin drills Steiner! Or a tire guy … or … violence is the first resort of the incompetent.

      3. Hey, you know more than one word, congratulations! Your responses in the last article were rather annoying.

        I think it’s pretty obvious Keith isn’t a Mazepin fan, but if you take a step back, what does this guy really add to the mix?

        I guess the best I can hope for is that Mick absolutely dusts him and Haas becomes Uralkali Racing. Mazepin, Lance, and Latifi can fight it out for the best daddy-purchased seat.

        1. Oh and Mick’s dad & family have had no influence or financial input on his motor racing career.

      4. It’s called an Op-ed.

        Nothign wrong with voicing an opinion on your own damn website.

        My God the preciousness of some people.

      5. Actually they do, they always have the first and the last word and even though they are only one voice they act like they are the voice of the people.
        I used to admire journalism, stating something without implying anything is very difficult and journalistic values were praised back in the day. These days every news bite is an opinion piece. What we used to criticize as biased, propaganda media are today’s “respected” and “trusted” sources. New journalists are far from credible, partly as a consequence of trying to tell people off rather than just passing information. There used to be room for both. Many articles are not passed through mo specialist or if they do, it is the “x reacts to x” youtube specialist, even some articles are now titled like so.
        Everything starts with “why”. Not inquisitive not as an answer or justification but as “why not”. As a way to dismiss people, discriminate all, we are all wrong, every single one of our different opinions. Journos are always right and rife to deny the public and educate without actually having the right to do it, because they don’t have the information to do it and the skill to write like journos used to.
        I understand that maybe we have come to the realization that it is not economically viable to make good journalism anymore. Journos in todays social media verified world, like businesses and advertisers, aim at herds, use herd mentality tactics to corral audiences in order to forge an audience.
        Unfortunately good journalism is not even a niche thing now.
        Even a platform like youtube riddled with influencers has, niche channels and some “creators” with journalistic like values, in their respective areas of interest.
        A journalist used to tell you their opinion without sounding like a jehovah’s witness. Nobody likes to be told off, nobody likes to be rubbished off without respite. Journalists used to investigate, try to get to the bottom of it, stick their necks out. Now they try to stick everyone’s neck in. There is no denying it, “fake news” is just “news”. Click-bait, bogus journalism, and traditional journalism are not far apart the same mistakes are made.

    2. @canadianjosh Yes it seems like this young person does stupid things all the time. Keith has brought the issue to the fore because of Haas’ official announcement that he will indeed be on the team next year, which makes it F1’s issue. You say no offence, but indeed you’re being offensive and are accusing Keith of taking license by drumming up the story needlessly, and nothing could be further from the truth.

      1. Hey I have the utmost respect for Kieth, this will be my last post on this topic as I’m predicting a few good jabs from other posters but Robbie, I do believe in giving people chances to right their wrongs.

        1. @canadianjosh Pretty sure part of the gist of the article is that Mazepin has been given other chances to right his wrongs and that doesn’t seem to affect his behaviour for the good. How many offences must a repeat offender commit before you start to doubt the genuineness of the apologies?

          Keith’s point is well taken. By Haas declaring the matter settled by confirming his position on the team it is now F1’s issue, and F1 will have to wear his next indiscretion in an atmosphere of ‘we race as one.’ To some, F1 is already now wearing the past indiscretions of this person, and will be on guard for the next one. Not really what F1 needed but hey, I can also look at the glass half full and at least hope that he has finally learned a lesson this time and will respect that there’s nowhere higher he can go than to be in F1, and to not squander the opportunity. He hasn’t gotten off to a good start, though. Surely you can admit that.

          1. 100% I can admit he’s on the wrong path

          2. Brian Christopher Peterson
            24th December 2020, 0:32

            I doubt Haas would have made this move without running it past F1 first.

      2. Well said there @robbie.

        1. Also agree with @robbie. @rocketpanda explained the issue in a below comment better than most. This one incident could be viewed as a mistake, but consistent poor behaviour means the “boys will be boys” excuse really isnt appropriate.

    3. if someone assaults you for a 20 second video and apologizes after is it over or how does that work?

      It’s for a friend

      1. The comment of being “handled internally”
        translates out to mean “getting away with murder” so Haas needs the money coming from Mazipan deep pockets to survive. That means he gets away with it for now.
        But when the Haas continues on its recent history of performance and it begins to show in Mazipans results it won’t be long for them to dump the kid after using his money to try to make a better racer. It’s a great world. There was a time when a man facing all that Haas is facing would stand up and say Hell No to the kid and his money and be respected for it. Now I’m beginning to doubt the Haas approach. Sounds like they are moving in a survival direction. The joy of the Schumacher impact to the team and its fans and investors. At the same time the mazipan mess and how it’s gone negative. For Haas to retain him looks to me like pretty lousy choice. Money solves all problems.

    4. Amazing how I made it through my first 21 years then without sexually assaulting a single woman.

      Being young isn’t an excuse for sexual assault. Ever.

      1. Did you see her response? She didn’t press charges, she didn’t treat it as the end of the world, let’s move on and not turn this into the most important issue in the world.

        1. Yes, I saw her response. And while that response matters in so far as to her relationship with him. It ultimately doesn’t matter to what the response to his behaviour should be from all of us, and from Haas and FOM/FIA in particular.

          Let me say this again, sexual assualt is never okay. It doesn’t magically not become sexual assault because the woman in question is “okay” with it afterwards. It’s still sexual assault and it should be treated with the gravity it deserves to get. What if the next woman that gets assaulted “just for a laugh” isn’t okay with it? Should she just shrug it off, because the last woman was okay with getting groped? Nah mate.

          This is not okay. This is never okay. Not for rich people, not for poor people, not for famous people, not for regular working Joe’s. It’s not excused by age. It’s not excused by the assaultee retroactively “being okay with it.” There is no excuse, and it should be a grave offense.

          Do not ever for any reason grope another human and post it to social media, should be the moral default here.

          1. There was never sexual assault in the first place @aiii These are just two young people messing around. The problem is that the few media who reposted the video censored her face (and her boobs), which means you can’t see her laughing all the way through the video. It’s almost as if the media wants to make it look worse than it is to drive traffic and controversy, but surely that never happens, right?

            You could argue that Mazepin was ungentlemanlike in the video, and that it reflects poorly on Haas. But in the end it was just two consenting adults having fun.

          2. I completely agree with what you’ve said here. Its never ok.

          3. her apology aside, the girl in the video later posted Instagram stories that implied that it was actually non-consensual (responding to questions with something like “never let a guy touch me again” and some other stuff). It kind of invalidated her previous statement, and Mazepin subsequently deleted his apology. I’m not one to draw conclusions directly from part-ambiguous indications on social media but it’s uncertain as to whether she was actually “okay” with it or not to begin with. this, in addition to your points, makes it pretty clear that action must be taken, in my view.

          4. “Let me say this again, sexual assualt is never okay. It doesn’t magically not become sexual assault because the woman in question is “okay” with it afterwards.”

            Is it sexual assault though, if its consensual?

        2. That she didn’t. In return I believe she received a fair amount of money to do so and keep her mouth shut. Don’t be naive, please.

        3. “Pressing charges” is not really something a young woman in her position would be able to do in the UAE. She herself could easily be deemed to have broken several laws just by being there @jblank

        4. If the woman in question had taken the matter any further, she might have found herself in much worse trouble, and Mazepin wouldn’t have that drive. The widely-circulated suggestion is that large sums of money have been flying around to make this problem, and other, un-videoed problems, go away. It looks as if this is a young man who has become accustomed to doing whatever he wants, and always gets away with it.

      2. Didn’t she say it was consensual? This is literally a non-event, but we’re living in strange times

        1. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
          23rd December 2020, 15:51

          @paeschli She somewhat did (calling it something like fooling/joking around, and saying the two were friends), but has since deleted that and multiple later social media posts have shown that that was not a true reaction. It very much seems like she was pressured into or paid off to say the things she said immediately afterwards. Also covering your face and throwing up the finger to the camera (her reaction in the video) does not strike me as something you’d do if you were on board with what was going on

        2. @paeschli whilst ostensibly she has indicated that there was some element of consent, there were other events occurring around that time that have cast some doubt over whether she made that statement entirely of her own volition.

          Furthermore, there have been some more recent comments by that same lady which have subsequently raised the question of whether she really did give informed consent at the time. Legally speaking, there is also the question of whether an individual who was as intoxicated as she was really could give informed consent when their judgement would be quite heavily impaired in that situation.

          Just wondering – would you, or the others defending Mazepin’s behaviour, consider it a “non-event” if it happened to be somebody you knew who was on the receiving end of Mazepin’s behaviour? Would you just brush it off as “a bit of foolish behaviour” if it was rather more personal to you, rather than being able to view it through the position of isolated detachment you are adopting right now?

          1. @leonardodicappucino The problem is that most people have only seen the censored version, where you can’t see her face. She laughs the whole way through.
            I don’t care if it is or was a friend of Mazepin, a prostitute or my sister: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with fooling around.

          2. For me, if she was absolutely okay with it? Yeah.

            If she was not okay, then no.

    5. I’m not surprised that there’s a special comment article about this silly little things here. We already have one about how important it is to discuss human melanin level.

    6. The fact that the girl involved was ok with the actions and videos made the case almost irrelevant.
      The remaining relevant part is that the guy is possibly not smart enough to avoid posting such a video.
      The rest of the controversy is a preemptive PR raid to avoid a anti-PR move.

    7. My only question to this is how do these teams worth hundreds of millions in a sport worth billions let these numbskulls have control of their social media? Let’s not even go into his hair and the fact they don’t have a stylist for him, but why wouldn’t the teams make them sign over control of their social media? Seems like a no brainer with the constant problems this causes.

      1. Have you seen his dad? It seems like he just cloned himself into Nikita. That’s like next level narcissism. And since he’s much richer than the team his son is driving for, he is surrounded by ‘stylists’ and other yes men of his own choosing.

    8. The difference is that most young people aren’t high profile sports people that assume a role model status whether they like it or not. By excusing his behaviour, the team and the sport are saying to young people everywhere that sexual harassment is completely fine.

    9. Glad we move away from bashing the Verstappens though. The cicle bad jounalism and sheep crowd continuous somewhere else. If it is not British, its not much, right?

    10. Interesting these wall of texts comments.
      The fact is you can’t fire your own ” job giver”. Yes, Mazepin(‘s father) gere is the jobgiver to Haas, where money comes from.

      Now in the other cases (Abt etc.) Where thre race drivers cheated and so on, obviously they were just an employee, their behaviour would effect the reputation of their team causing damage to business and close the money flow.

      What is the case here? Your own employer can’t close his own moneyflow lol.
      These multis and ofc the formula teams all over the world do not care about really the behaviour or the mankind rights just about their reputation which would damage and effect their money flows.

    11. Yes, Kids do stupid things…. however sexual assault and harrassment is NOT a stupid act that can
      be just brushed aside like a a bit of graffiti while on a drunken stupor. Not to mention he already has a track record (pun intended) of dangerous behaviour on track as well as several ethically questionable antics off track via social media and in person.

      If Haas dealt with this matter internally and he turns a new leaf fine, but if they just slapped his wrist because they are desperate for cash a la Rich Energy, FIA really needs to take a closer look at their operations.

      Either way, your claims of childhood stupidity for this incident is misguided and unacceptable.

    12. The Skeptic (@)
      26th December 2020, 1:13

      Sexual assault is never acceptable. No matter what your age. Not even if the woman later says “we’re friends” (and we all know the pressure she would have felt to say that!). He reached back and groped her on camera as though she was his for the groping.

      It follows a pattern of entitled behaviour from Mazepin, showing that he believes he can take what he wants, when he wants it. Space on the race track? My right to take it, even if another car is already there. Angry with another driver? My right to attack him. A woman in the car? My right to touch, uninvited.

      Most men live their entire lives without doing something like this – including when they are young. That’s because most men understand how to discipline themselves to behave in a civilised way. Moreover… Formula 1 drivers are the pinnacle of the sport – with their names and “brand” promoted worldwide under F1’s banner, and their behaviour should reflect that privilege.

    13. Whole article reaks of click bait

  2. The article is good, but if you are going to touch the question of Mazepin’s talent, maybe don’t compare it with Stroll’s and how he managed to get into F1. At least Stroll won Italian F4, Toyota Racing Series and European F3 on the trot, reducing it to “but an extensive private F1 testing programme with multiple world champions Mercedes, not unlike Lance Stroll’s with Williams four years ago” is just wrong

    Regarding the issue, I see to options here for Haas

    They either fired the guy and risk team bankrupcy with hundreds of people losing their jobs


    They don’t fire the guy, they risk bankrupcy because no other sponsor wants to be associated with them, and hundreds of people lose their jobs

    I would go for the first one

    1. @johnmilk I have to agree, I don’t know how close Haas are to ‘turning off the lights for the last time’, but regardless of your opinion of Mazepin and the things he does, I can’t see any board of any company wanting to put their sticker on the car, especially after the Rich Energy debacle.

      Weirdly, in terms of goodwill and marketability, Romain’s survival story, his affability, family man persona, as grim as it is to equate what happened to him to money, it could have been a positive in the public perception of the team. My mum knew little about F1 until ‘Drive to Survive’, (I’ve never actually watched it) and Romain, she’s watched every race the last two years because she has her favourites (Sergio, Romain and George). She cheers them on because she likes them as people (why it’s them, I dunno, again, I’ve never watched the show).

      She has just turned 60, and now she messages me about how ‘outside the top 10 at Monza, the hardest tyre is surely a no-brainer, you might get a safety car in the opening few laps but nobody will pit anyway, then there’s a strong likelihood you’ll get one in the last 1/3, you can get heat into hards through curva grande and the lesmos’

      I think, bloody hell, a few years ago she could only name Senna and Schumacher. But I guess she’s part of the new ‘Liberty’ generation of fans, and I can’t see how Mazepin fits in with this unless he just plays the villain all the time.

      It’s not likely, but if my mum was to go buy a power tool, she’d walk straight past any Haas products on the basis they employ him.

      I think in the long run, it’ll do Haas more harm than good, whatever Mazepin is paying them, taking ‘the high road’ and going with someone with better credentials (you don’t have to say it’s because of his actions, just go with someone with better results) is surely better than just digging a slow and deep, perhaps irrecoverable hole.

      1. @bernasaurus besides the fact that I agree with your comment

        most importantly I just want to tell you, that I don’t know your mother and I already love her, cherish her mate

        1. @johmilk Ha! I’ll try, thanks, I won’t mention you said this because if you get her onto F1 she won’t shut up.

          1. @bernasaurus will be able to explain graining in no time

  3. He has to go!

    Driving in F1 it’s privilege!

    There are 20 places.

    He doesn’t deserve one. Even if his daddy is a Russian millionaire, in other words, a Russian oligarch….

    1. You don’t seem to know a thing about Russia. Not all millionaires are oligarchs. Not Mazepin, for instance.

  4. Problem with Mazepin is that its not just the groping video. It’s him punching Ilott, insinuating Russell’s sexuality and his poor attitude towards women on social media. If you want to bring in his driving he’s petulant, entitled and his defensive driving is borderline dangerous – and these are just a handful of the iffy behaviour he’s demonstrated. Drivers like Ticktum & Maldonado were villified for significantly less. This isn’t a ‘young person doing a stupid thing’ this is a rich kid that knows better but does it anyway because his money talks louder than him. It’s gross behaviour, and not something to be endorsed as he’s clearly proven he doesn’t learn from his mistakes.

    1. Exactly. I think this particular video has been blown way out of proportion, but it’s the consistency of bad choices that show he’s a grade A asshat.

    2. Yes, almost everybody forgot what is the REAL problem with Mazepin.

      1. That’s because the stupid video receives way more attention.
        So much the real problem is out of sight (and out of mind)

        That is the reason we should stop talking about this stupid video and look at the real problem(s) with him.

    3. @rocketpanda Agreed. It’s very easy to jump on the collective bandwagen when an athlete does something slightly out of line, but Mazepin has a history of poor behaviour. A man without his financial backing would have been fired; and let’s face it, wouldn’t be in F1 at all.
      The one positive from this is that Mazepin will be watched more closely and forced to behave better.

  5. Honestly, Dan Ticktum did WAY worst things and he is still around.
    Drivers in the golden era of F1 punched each others in the face every freaking weekend.
    Chill out.

    1. Way worse.
      Please, I need an “edit” button!!

      1. @liko41 no – drivers in the past were not constantly fighting and brawling in the paddock in the “golden era” of F1: you are projecting a vastly exaggerated level of violence and aggression onto the paddock in that era.

        If the drivers really were fighting to that sort of level every single weekend, don’t you think that, just maybe, there might have been a few signs of the effects of that? It’s not like the drivers were appearing every weekend covered in bruises, cuts and black eyes.

        Just look at the reaction after Senna punched Irvine after the 1993 Japanese GP – back in 1993, most people were disgusted with Senna’s behaviour, with Senna being largely condemned as a thug and a coward for punching Irvine and Senna thought lucky to get away with a two race suspended ban. The fact that Senna was both heavily penalised and heavily condemned rather underlines the point that such violence was considered pretty shocking and abnormal – which is not surprising, as most normal people don’t constantly try to punch each other in the head.

        1. I agree. And even if it were true that F1 drivers were violent in the past, does that mean we should accept that as the norm and allow it to continue indefinitely? Or should we aspire to higher standards for our very highly paid athletes who represent their countries, teams, sponsors and F1 in addition to themselves? It’s just a lazy whataboutism argument that deflects from the current issue.

        2. Well, months later: Ticktum possibly redeemed by 1%?

    2. Ticktum’s reputation won’t be redeemed. He should quit.

    3. The King used to be allowed to rape a newlywed woman before her husband on the night of the wedding.

      Just because it happened in the past, doesn’t make it okay now. Just because someone else did a thing that was excused (whether rightly or wrongly excused isn’t even the issue) doesn’t mean this should be as well. It’s not relevant. It’s only relevant what this person did and what the response is to that in 2020.

    4. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
      23rd December 2020, 15:57

      Ticktum has his on track issues (which Mazepin is basically equal in anyways) but Ticktum, outside of the car, really is not too bad of a guy. Telling people to “chill out” over sexual assault is like, unimaginable to me. I don’t understand how you could tolerate a sexual predator being in F1.

    5. Brace yourself for the sjw’s. Puppets, personality devoid, you gain nothing for being jealous of a millionaire. If you care about what Mazepins action and who you see of him, rather than try to cancel the guy why not just dislike him with “gusto”.

  6. Mission Failed
    Haas refused to sack the most controversial driver.

  7. I give it 6 months before Max punches him.

    1. Unlikely. Max is a racist brat aswell. They will probably be best mates.

      1. Max should be sacked for using slurs.

      2. @bernasaurus , BB13, I think Nikita has a knack for finding and pressing people’s fury buttons. I don’t think any way of viewing the world is going to prevent an eventual punch if Nikita manages to annoy Max (and crashing into him during a lapping procedure is on record as having been sufficient cause to make Max violent).

        1. Yeah I suppose it is possible that NM could be penalized for taking out Max while being lapped, robbing Max of a sure win, and then when Max confronts him after the race NM might laugh at him rather than apologize and diffuse the situation knowing he was the penalized one, at which point Max might shove him.

          Or, the odds of that happening again, because the drivers just know you don’t race the leader as a backmarker, let alone do anything to risk taking him out, let alone take him out, let alone rub it in his face afterwards, is pretty slim. Guess it will depend on if there is a Ferrari driver that Ferrari-aligned NM in his Haas, feels he needs to help.

          Who knows. One race at a time.

      3. How is Max a racist, lol? God that is the most overused word today.

        1. He is white.. so very suspicious….

          1. What rhymes with Max? Sack, as in firing him! XD

      4. Verstappen is racist because the mongol word in Netherland is popular? lol

  8. We race as one is just a marketing plot… Did they say anything or took action about Verstappen’s Mongol remark? Did they about Mazepin?

    It’s a good message but what substance does it have? Would they do anything to one of their superstars if they crossed the line? Doubt it… In the same way Haas won’t do anything about Mazepin, because they need him. Good will and ethics are thrown out of the window when they clash with interests

    1. @fer-no65 yes, I get we are all thinking for f1 and haas and behind the scenes stuff and you are right and everyone is right, but lets be honest, does this matter to humanity?
      max mongol remark comes from an non-native speaker, for him it is like calling someone a troll or stupid or retarded. Sure all these words will offend people… they are meant to… What is wrong with being human like we all are.

      Cancel culture is what I see, a less powerful driver would have had his career ruined by now, yet I still don’t agree with cancel culture.

  9. Okay, for those wondering why proud_asturian said “COPE” multiple times: It’s an acronym for Committee on Publication Ethics, as pointed out by dbHenry in the other Mazepin article.

  10. A good journalist keeps his (or her) personal opinion out of their work and focuses on the content and the facts

    Otherwise we end up with, as Trump would say, fake news

    1. @the-edge Good journalists do opinion pieces all the time, especially when it is their own blog through which they are opining. Opinion pieces are freely written and debated. It is utter nonsense to equate that to one egomaniac’s trope that everything that goes against him and his sick motivations must be fake.

      1. Well I agree we’re all allowed our own opinions. I just ask opinions are based on fact and no facts based on opinion

        1. @the-edge Fair enough and I think the facts are pretty clear from which Keith has based his comment.

          1. Unless you have evidence to the contrary… 2 friends were mucking about in a car, and the girl placed the clip on his social media which he immediately deleted. Certainly NO sexual assault took place, and crime was committed (unlike in the racial abuse example referred to in the article)

            Those are the facts… do you have any evidence to the contrary?

            If not, then what facts are basing you opinion on?

            Had his actions been on a stranger or even a friend who took offence then this of course would be wrong, but he didn’t, or at least the overwhelming FACTS say he didn’t

          2. @the-edge That you consider no sexual assault occurred is your opinion and not necessarily the facts. None of us have all the facts. Some consider what they saw in that 20 second video was indeed sexual assault without question.

            But it is a fact that NM has a history, and that he has apologized for this video and that it appeared on social media. It is a fact that Haas condemned his behaviour and has now confirmed his place on the team regardless. It is a fact that now any other indiscretions will be for F1 to deal with, not just the Mazepin family or Haas.

            Your opinion that you think is correct does not in any way shape or form confirm or prove the facts. Putting that word in capital letters doesn’t either.

          3. @the-edge the woman in question has, since that first Instagram post where she claimed it was all fun, posted some contradictions to that first statement.


        2. @the-edge

          Well you see, I get the feeling that isn’t really about NM groping, who in my opinion, is his “friend with benefits”. Its about all this other stuff about him, punching his teammate, history of bad behaviour on and off track etc. He doesn’t seem like a good guy, and doesn’t seem like a good racing driver either, so this video was sort of the tipping point that’s caused everyone to lose it?

    2. Right. Don’t have an opinion about sexual assault. Ok.

      Are you for real? Journalists write opinion pieces all the time.

    3. @the-edge Have you not heard of Editor’s Columns? (Every paper I’ve seen in Britain has one). The article was marked “Comment”, if you didn’t want to read comment pieces, you could have navigated away from the article at that point.

  11. I’m so sure James Hunt, nor Alain Prost have done never nothing like that…

    I think calling he “sexual predator” based on a video where he is joking whith a (female) friend (confirmed by the female friend)… a video that lasts 20 seconds… is at least a bit adventurous.

    Having said that, the thing that is clear and that the video does demonstrate is that the boy is stupid. That type of games/flirting/joking/groping with a friend, depends on the level of trust you have with that friend and if is consensual (like she said) is never a problem… until you are a public person, and decide to record it and post it on social media.

    1. In addition to asking female fans for nude pics and getting aggressive when they refuse?

      1. Well what I have read is about the video, which I have also seen. I have not read anything about what you are saying (I haven’t investigated about it either), if so, it is a completely different thing and much more serious.

        But don’t worry, if his driving is going to be similar to what he used in GP2, he will be out pretty soon, and by on-track criteria.

    2. @esmiz Pretty Sure James Hunt at least tried to get consent for his conduct… …and few people in the 1970s considered a drunken “Yes” to be invalid as a form of consent (the way so many people people Nikita’s age do in the 2010s and 2020s).

    3. Exactly what I think, it is so obvious in the video that they have some sort of trust between each other and they are just fooling around (like she confirmed from her social media).
      Sadly now we live in a world where everyone feels offended for the minimal thing, and everything is so over exposed because of social media. ‘Sexual predator’ seems like a strong word for Mazepin behavior in the video and what Keith says in the article

      What reassurances have been given to the team’s staff about his behaviour? Those who have seen the video of an athletic man forcibly grabbing a young woman of slight build would be entirely justified to ask if they are safe to share a workplace with him.

      seems like exaggerating on the issue… I mean, “forcibly grabbing”, yes, definitely she resist to it by licking and sticking her middle finger into her mouth.
      Personally I don’t like the guy and don’t rate him either as a good driver, I believe there where better ones, but money talks in Formula One and he is lucky enough to have a wealthy father who bought him a race drive and is helping a team struggling financially.
      If he is not good enough, for sure his time in F1 will be short.

  12. This article reminds me of the cancel culture that we live in. Unfortunately, I thought that was reserved for Twitter. The kid has lots to learn but one of them isn’t losing his dream before it begins because of this particular action. Suggesting such a thing is as irresponsible as his actions.

    1. If it had just been this one thing I think the tone and the response to the video and the apology would be entirely different. But it has been more than this one thing, and this at the same time F1 wants to race as one. You can knock this article, but the meat of the issue is not this article, but is the repeated actions of an individual, and the brushing that aside by Haas and the retention of him on the team. That has changed the equation for F1 now and they will now share the burden of this guy acts up again, as is the pattern he has shown.

      1. Well said @Robbie. I’d go further to suggest that Keith has pointed out that Haas have elected to keep their “internal” discussions confidential when if had indeed been a strong telling off coupled with a “do anything else stupid and you’re out” they’d have made it public.
        I think he’s questioning the motives/process and “wondering” if the same standards would be applied if there wasn’t a lot of money attached to the driver.

    2. soulmonkey, Nikita’s conduct since the incident indicates he really is that irresponsible, and has no desire to learn from his mistakes despite being given opportunity to do so.

  13. I’m sure there’s an F1-equevelant of ‘bringing the game into disrepute’ in Football, so the governing body should investigate the team’s punishment of him and see if they need to take action against the team/him directly. If that sort of behaviour is not punished in some meaningful way I think it does reflect badly on F1.

    I don’t see why people are critical of the article, it seems to raise a valid question? You’re allowed to physically mess with someone by force and not face any serious consequences? How will people in the team working with him feel?
    How is that going to sit with potential sponsors? Or anyone who may now feel slightly awkward every time he gives an interview on TV knowing the sort of person he is?

    I hope he gets some really awkward questions next year assuming he does race, that’ll make him properly sorry he did it rather than some rubbishy written-for-him nonsense reason/excuse/justification.

    1. @mysticarl The clause you’re looking for is Article 151 c) of the International Sporting Code. Last prominently used against McLaren in Spygate in 2007, which a large number of people thought was an overreaction and may have been the beginning of the end of Max Moseley’s reign as FIA President. Which may itself explain the FIA’s reluctance to deploy that tool at this time.

      1. @alianora-la-canta Article 151c has been deployed a few times since – the ones that come immediately to mind are Crashgate and Ferrari’s use of team orders at Hockenheim 2010. I believe McLaren were also facing action under the same article for Liegate, until they threw Dave Ryan under the bus as part of what was effectively a plea bargain. Although all of those examples are now 10+ years old (time flies!)

        I guess the key point regarding all of those examples is that they had a much clearer link to on-track activity. I cannot think of an example of Article 151c being used in a case which is not related to the ‘day job’ in some way.

        1. @red-andy While I didn’t count the Hockenheim 2010 one because the case was rejected, you are right that I should have counted the “Nelsinho Defence” (as I call that time Nelson Piquet Jr crashed into a Singaporean wall in 2008 in order to get a Safety Car out for his team-mate Fernando Alonso – which by the way was completely unnecessary in hindsight as Rubens Barrichello’s car broke down before Fernando’s rivals were likely to pit anyway *facepalm*).

  14. Stanislav Kozliakovsky
    23rd December 2020, 16:36

    to be honest, it is not the “cancel culture” or some other modern “vogue” stuff, he’s just a spoiled brat with average talent…but I look forward to see Steiner’s reactions on his crashes and antics…

  15. Anon-russia-mafia
    23rd December 2020, 16:41

    The guy seems noncompliant with meetoo, media goes nuts. On top of the pay-driver discussion…

    Not a single comment on where the money comes from, weird! Can we please talk about how a shady business is sportswashing? Are we supposed to applaud should he win?

  16. We’ve been told all year that in Formula 1, ‘We Race As One’. Allowing Mazepin to excuse his disgraceful behaviour with nothing more than an apology which has already disappeared will prove the hashtag does not ring true

    While I have to admit that RaceFans IQ to everything surrounding F1 is top notch. I’m a bit surprised that Liberty’s hashtag ‘We Race As One’ was seriously considered given they were (and their owner John Malone) one of the biggest supporters of arguably the racist man on the planet aka Donald Trump.

    1. Trump actually tried to reach out to black Americans a lot and they voted for him in relatively high numbers. Most accusations of racism against Trump are based on lies.

  17. “Allowing Mazepin to excuse his disgraceful behaviour with nothing more than an apology which has already disappeared will prove the hashtag does not ring true.”

    Mic drop.

    The best apology is changed behaviour; words mean very little when the actions to not match.

  18. I generally don’t read Keith’s comment pieces these days, but I clicked through from Twitter thinking it was a news piece. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, and I don’t see this as anything to do with F1, in fact it’s only something to do with Haas because they need to protect their sponsorship.

    Getting fed up with the media and social media mixing so much other stuff in with the news about the sport – at least make another section for it, rather than mixing it in with everything else.

    Perhaps I should have posted this anonymously in case anyone doesn’t agree with me and calls for me to be sacked from my job.

  19. This Mazepin kid is clearly a reprobate and I agree his actions were deplorable; however, there is another side to this that sports fans should consider.

    I have spent my career working around celebrities (film/TV/sport) and I’ve witnessed first hand how SOME women behave around famous men. I was standing a couple of meters away when three women approached Jude Law and offered to have a threesome with him. This may seem humorous to many, except, he was standing with his children and their Mother. I also overheard two young models asking an ex-Miss South Africa for tips of the trade. She
    advised them to find a way into events where the national sports teams were guests and then approach players and chat them up, and, hopefully, date them. She had dated South Africa’s most famous cricketer and said her career changed considerably.

    I’ve looked through Andrea D’Ival’s Instagram and it is a narcissistic litany of images in underwear and swimwear. She fits the bill like a glove.

  20. It’s far more worrying that F1 is granting a superlicence to someone who tries to drive other people into the pit wall.

    What happened to his penalty points, by the way? Do they still apply in F1, or did they never happen?

    1. Penalty points are for that class (F2) only and are dropped at the end of the year (unlike in F1)

  21. I wish people would stop saying that it was consensual. Yes she put out a comment later to say they’re friends and it was ok and he’s a great guy etc, but the act was not consensual, he did not say “please can I grab your boob”? And she did not say “yes its ok”. People talk about the golden age of f1 or say that Hunt would be rolling in his grave, frankly the 70s was massively sexist and should not be seen as a example of good behaviour. When I was younger I too was an arrogant little sod but at no point did I think it was ok to grab at women, what goes on in the bedroom between consenting adults is one thing but a car full of people is another. If I did that to my wife in front of someone she’d give me a good hard slap.

    1. It was not consensual and they are not friends anymore. She said as much in a later Instagram post.

    2. Not only was it not consensual but it was filmed and im an awkward situation (IIRC in a car). Imagine what could happen when both are drunk in a dimly lit room without cameras.

      What Mazepin did is not excusable.

  22. A note that shouldn’t have been written. But such is “journalism” in times of coronavirus.

  23. And just like that, about half of my favorite F1 drivers from the 70s and 80s would have been without a drive because of their behaviour (on or off track)

  24. I in no way condone Haas sweeping this issue under the carpet, it’s reached a point where they must address what actions they privately took to put out some of the public fire, but what did we really expect from them? This is the same team who proved before that they were willing to take whatever money someone offered to them regardless of the source when the got in business with Rich Energy. And even when it was clear to everyone else that the relationship was always going to end in tears and lawsuits they lived in denial and kept on acting like nothing was happening. For all of Steiner’s frank comments on his drivers abilities he is pretty cowardly on the business relationships.

  25. So ridiculous to be fine with F1 showing off the worst human rights violaters to millions (regime-washing) to millions all over the globe, yet making this the end of the world.

    Just proves the point that the distraction ruse of identity politics has worked wonders, and that people all over are extremely gullible and hypocrites.

  26. Despite all the noise on Social Media, and a few awkward press conferences at the first race, by the second race it will have all fizzled out.

    Haas will probably lose a sponsor and some merch revenue, but that will be a minuscule amount compared to what Daddy Mazepin will be paying.

    What are those people complaining on Twitter going to do? Not buy a Haas Automation CNC machine?

  27. Again, the girl in the video is not complaining yet the world wants to complain on her behalf.

  28. Concerning unacceptable behavior at the track, we should re-wind the clock and kick Michael Schumacher out of F1. Mazepin is a rank amateur along side of him. Let’s kick Vettel out too while we’re at it.

    While posting the video is certainly politically incorrect, a red-blooded young guy given the opportunity grabs a handful? Really? If we’re going to speak to degrading F1, let’s revisit Ferrari’s engine management cheat last year.

  29. Again, the girl involved had no issue whatsoever but the world and do gooders need to complain on her behalf.

  30. Not sure if they were friends or not but behaving in that manner and then sharing it in social media is so moronic. Like it or not he is now a role model like all F1 drivers and that is something that should be taken seriously. If Haas needs the money then maybe they should suspend his license for a year and allow another driver an opportunity to prove themselves and in the meantime Mazepin could learn how to conduct himself going forward. Sounds like he could do with being taken down a peg or two.

  31. Sorry Keith, these commentary pieces have to stop. You’re wasting everyone’s time and energy.

    Next, you and your staff will be rationalising racing in countries with atrocious human rights records… For two weeks later to whine on like a bunch of Maries about someone having a laugh and getting into a punch up hahaha.

    Wake up.

    1. Counterpoint. I enjoy the opinion pieces even if I don’t always agree with the writers. Please keep doing them and I suggest inviting guest writers to contribute their opinions if the news team needs to stay separate from opinion pieces.

      1. You stupid

        1. You stupid


  32. Keith, I enjoy your opinion pieces including this one. Please do not stop.

  33. I am so disappointed that an otherwise straightforward and valuable F-1 reporting site has decided to participate in cancel culture. A young adult did something stupid to another young adult. No actual physical harm took place. Both have explained themselves and there’s no criminal complaint. Not even hard feelings are expressed.

    And yet this site is still beating the outrage drum. Stop. Just stop.

  34. Keith is a crybaby snowflake, like the rest of the “media”.
    I am now a mazepanfan, since he seems to have a knack for making you snowflakes break down in tears.

    1. 2 cm- obviously you have been measuring yourself while engorged with troll pleasure.

  35. Reading these comments really highlights why I dislike partaking in male dominated activities. It’s disgusting.

  36. I do not like Mazepin. I really don’t like him. From all the pay drivers I dislike him the most.

    But. Really.
    Every year we have races in Bahrain. A place, where female acrivists are tortured and raped with direct orders from the officials.
    Every year we have races in China. A place with literal concentration camps for “wrong” people.
    Every year we have races in Russia. A place where being gay is a crime and killing a gay person is not a crime.
    Now we will have a race in Saudi. A place, where women do not have even some basic human rights.

    I appreciate what you are doing with this site but where is your journalism about this, Keith?
    I appreciate what Lewis doing with his BLM and diversity things but why he still shaking hands with Putin? All he can do is to criticize japanese for hunting dolphins?
    I appreciate what Liberty have done after their takeover, trying to improve quality of racing, but why we are still racing there? This is a rethorical question: everyone knows the answer.

    And this is the most ugly and disgusting thing: everyone knows and understands everything, but keeps silent.
    Every time The Circus is visiting these venues everyone, EVERYONE: teams, drivers, FIA, Liberty, Sky, and most importantly – journalists are silent. And everyone has this miserable feeling, like “yes we know it, but you understand it all, right?” and are trying to look like nothing is happening. Yes, this is how the world runs. And everyone claims about how they want to change the world making it better. This is just a perfect textbook example of double standards and hypocrisy. At least Lewis makes his statements about police violence, I really respect that move. But everything you journalists are able to do is to write daily articles about some spoiled kid groping his female friend’s chest and about why Lewis doesn’t had his knighthood yet.

    PS. A couple years ago when asked in an interview about females in autosport, Sergio Perez told that “women’s place is in the kitchen”. Personally I think it is way more offensive than even groping. I really cringed while reading this. This was featured on this website by the way. But I bet nobody remember it. Checo is such a nice guy after all. So, let’s pretend it never happened.

    1. what·a·bout·ism.

      1. @ppzzus what·a·bout·ism = Controlling technique to stop all point proving comparisons and hypocrisy

    2. It’s warzones. Everywhere in the world.

    3. Indeed, and Hamilton is no choir boy either.

      Case 1: his comments on grid girls in 2018.
      Case 2: his comments about his nephew wearing a dress in 2017.
      Case 3: comments from his ex-girlfriend Veronica Vale in 2018 concerning his treatment of her.

  37. This kid sounds like an entitled, spoilt brat who thinks daddy’s billions buy him the right to be as obnoxious as possible to anyone he wants.
    Haas might be after the money, but I don’t see this relationship lasting – the kid is already a PR nightmare, and it can only get worse from now on. On the track, his impulsiveness will probably translate into Maldonado-like shunts.

    This is a horror show waiting to happen.

  38. I actually just watched the video.

    The girl is bending over and her b00b is about to pop out of her dress and he kind of covers it up/stops is popping out completely.

    I’m not advocating it one or another, but you need context here.

    They’re male/female friends and you don’t know their history together. Could be friends with benefits for all we know. They’re certainly very comfortable around one another. The girl said it was nothing to it.

    It’s not like he was a taxi driver who just reached around to the back seat and randomly grabbed the woman’s b00b. They’re friends on a night out for crying out loud.

    This is the biggest beat up of all time. Again I’m not advocating it and if he has a high profile he shouldn’t post things like that because it’s not going to end well.

    1. This is not correct, if you watch the uncensored video her breast clearly falls out before he even tries to grab it, she put her hand in front and he grabs her hand, how is that him trying to stop it falling out?

      I’m not sure what to make of it all, she’s clearly not distressed, she then puts her finger up with a big smile on her face then licks her finger.

      Did she consent to him touching her? No, did she berate him after he did? No, did she look distressed? No.

    2. He did it as a favour as her tits were coming out anyway? Seriously, some boys. You need to catch up on her more recent postings, now she’s thought about it and unfollowed him.

  39. Setting the Mazecontroversy aside I’m still trying to figure out what Haas are hoping to achieve with their new driver pairing.

    As I see it they new pair aren’t really an upgrade on the old pair at a talent level, so it must be about the money.

    Will the extra money magically make Haas more competitive?

    I think, if they continue with their current model of outsourcing as much as possible, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll do any better than last season.

    It’s possible that Gene Haas is looking for a way out of F1 because he’s a businessman and it’s given him a poor return for the money spent.

    If Haas sells the team to Daddy Mazepin that will be two ‘Billionaire Trophy’ teams in F1.

    When does the tipping point come when manufacturers look at F1 and no longer want to be associated with it?

    Will this then become the only way forward for F1 until the majority of the teams on the grid have become ‘Vanity Projects’ for billionaires to give their offspring a public platform?

    Other sports have a vetting process for owners whereby they have to prove they are fit to be a team owner and aren’t reliant on illegal gains for their funding.

    If F1 doesn’t already have such a process in place perhaps it ought to consider adding it to the rulebook.

  40. “Haas’s handling of the Mazepin affair will leave some wondering whether F1 needs a team who, in the words of its own driver, “weren’t really racing” at the end of the year, yet brings the sport into such ill repute.”

    Try to tell that to the team crew, working with less ressources and probably to a lower pay than most teams.

    Whatever opinion you have about Mazepin and the case management is fine. But don’t trash a team of people that has been valiant since day 1.

  41. In the official FIA video review of the 2000 season there’s a clip of Johnny Herbert groping Louise Goodman’s breast as she talks to him on the grid in Malaysia ahead of his final race, and clearly it’s all treated in jest because she laughs and slaps his hand away. It’s included in the video as one of of the ‘amusing light relief’ clips which feature throughout that particular review in between the serious business of racing.

    I would put this Mazepin incident in the same category – that is, ‘stupid joke between friends’ – and so it’s not something I’m appalled by or even particularly interested in. Obviously, wider attitudes regarding how men and women behave towards each other have changed dramatically compared to 20 years ago, which Mazepin should really be aware of, so the thing I take away from this is that, given his present position as a newly promoted F1 driver, it shows he’s a bit of a twerp to allow it to be posted on social media. But then again, his behaviour at the races has already provided ample evidence of his idiocy, so it seems to be completely in character.

  42. All I care about Mazepin is: Does the guy have talent as an F1 driver, or is he just another useless pay driver? Whatever he does outside the cockpit is no business of mine. Of course if you think he’s done something illegal you are free to press charges against him. The rest is idle chat.

  43. Oh my god, how could a man touch a woman?! People multiply by gemmating.

    This is much ado about nothing. It’s stupid to publish a video where you touch a woman’s breast… I mean, are you a child to do things like that?

    But how is that disrespectful to a woman?

    It’s not up to you, Keith, to decide on this, but up to her. Did she come to you crying out loud how disrespectful Mazepin was? I bet she didn’t. So you should not feel self-righteous and assume anything about anyone.

    The real problems of F1 are 0 competition and hypocritical “green” rules.

  44. As it should be. This is not an issue. The SJWs want to have a field day, that’s all.

  45. Money talks …

  46. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    25th December 2020, 1:39

    The number of users on this website trying to down-play sexual assault is actually disappointing. Being young and dumb doesn’t excuse your poor choices. After her second set of IG posts, it’s obvious the girl was obviously NOT okay with it.

    Wonder how many of you people are okay with what Brock Turner did.. You know, he was just a dumb young kid.

  47. I dropped a Christmas cake on the floor. Big Marzipan Problem got swept under the carpet.

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