After video of Nikita Mazepin groping a woman appeared on Mazepin’s Instagram and then almost as quickly was deleted, it was an open question whether the Haas Formula One team — for whom Mazepin is driving next year — would discipline Mazepin in any meaningful way. Haas answered that question today with a “nah.”
Here’s Haas’s new statement:
In short, Haas confirmed that Mazepin still has his seat and, no, Haas will not be talking about this further.
Mazepin is the son of Russian billionaire Dmitry Mazepin, who is throwing a lot of money at Haas for next year, and so it was never likely that much, if anything, would happen to Nikita, as challenging him or his father might existentially threaten the Haas team itself.
That’s because almost the entire point of Haas next year is to provide a seat for Nikita Mazepin, similar to how a big reason Racing Point exists is to provide a seat for Lance Stroll, even though Lance Stroll, also the son of a billionaire, isn’t a great driver.
All of which puts the onus on Formula One to do something except it is in Formula One’s great interest to keep billionaires like Dmitry Mazepin around and pumping money into Formula One. Thus the FIA and Formula One statement issued a couple of weeks ago that kept to the party line of handling things internally. Mazepin’s name has not appeared on Formula1.com since.
“Mazepin has issued a public apology for his poor conduct and this matter will continue to be dealt with internally by the Haas F1 Team. The ethical principles and diverse and inclusive culture of our sport are of the utmost importance to the FIA and Formula 1.”
I now expect the matter to be swept under the rug, having been “dealt with internally,” the whole episode another reminder as to what Formula One’s depressing priorities really are.