Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says Nikita Mazepin has to accept some people will continue to criticise him for his behaviour in the social media video he attained notoriety for last year.2021 F1 season.
“We spoke about what we think went wrong,” said Steiner. “I don’t want to expand about the details but I think the biggest thing is he got support. He [understands] how it was wrong. And he knows that, I didn’t have to tell him, because he apologised also after the incident.
“In general we just move on and we want to build him up to be a good race car driver. And a good race car driver needs to be also a good human being. He’s eager to learn anything he can because he is very young and just wants to move on and show what he can do in future.”
Mazepin told media last week the incident was a “huge mistake” which he had “taken responsibility for”, but refused to say whether he had apologised to the woman seen in the video.
Asked what the team would do to shield its driver from further criticism, Steiner said the fact Mazepin had publicly apologised for his behaviour was “the biggest protection” he could give himself.
“He will have always people that don’t like him – and I’m not saying that what was done was right and he doesn’t say that,” Steiner commented.
“We just need to move on. You cannot dwell on something which happened. You cannot get rid of it any more. It happened, it’s a fact. So you just need to move on, doing the right things, and doing your job right. That’s the only [way] he can move on. There doesn’t need to be any talk anymore, it needs to be just a walk.
“For sure some people will never let loose of this and will find it always to attack him. But I think he will grow some hairs on his chest and just deal with it. That’s what will happen. He’s a strong guy.
“It’s for sure not nice to deal with this when you’re young. But it happened, you cannot make it go away, so just move on and behave like he should.”
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