With just five weeks to go until lights out for the 2021 season-opener in Bahrain, Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has commented on the “strong” response the American racing outfit has been receiving.
Steiner was alluding to the tirade of criticism the team has been receiving whenever it posts something related to Nikita Mazepin on social media.
“We continue to have dialogue with Nikita about many things, including what happened at the end of last season,” Steiner told RACER.
“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.”
Continuing, Steiner said he respects the fact that “people are entitled to voice their opinions, no matter how vigorous,” and added that, “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.”
Haas said he hopes that Mazepin has learned his lesson from the “totally unacceptable” incident.
“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,” Haas said.
“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,” he concluded.