Haas Boss Happy F1 Fans Have ‘Forgotten’ About Mazepin Groping Scandal

Nikita Mazepin and Stefano Domenicali on the F1 grid - Formula1news.co.uk.v1

Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner has said he is pleased that Nikita Mazepin is no longer “in the headlines he was in” prior to making his debut in the pinnacle of motorsport.

The Russian racing driver caused controversy in late 2020, shortly after Haas announced him as one of their drivers for the upcoming season, after he groped an Instagram model’s breasts and uploaded a video of the incident onto social media.

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The incident triggered a wave of backlash and many F1 fans were quick to demand that Haas drop him.

However, the American racing outfit – who inked a title sponsorship deal with Nikita’s father’s company earlier this year – opted to brush off the criticism and retain him for 2021.

Steiner has said that it is a “very good thing” Mazepin is no longer receiving negative press over the incident, and he claimed that F1 fans are now seeing that he isn’t the person he was made out to be.

“I mean, not being in the headlines he was in, it’s a very good thing,” Steiner said in an interview with the English edition of GP Fans.

“I think while in the beginning, it seemed a never-ending story, once it started to go away, I wouldn’t say things never go away completely, but they wind down.

READ: Mazepin Hopeful For Points Next Year But Wary Rival Teams ‘Aren’t Sleeping’  

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“Part of it also is behaviour. People saw that he’s not the person people wanted him to portray that he is.

“I would say that one – and I said at the beginning – I didn’t know him before the end of last year or I would say September, October time last year, so I didn’t know the guy, but when I got to know him, I said, ‘people think he is what he is not’,” he added.

Mazepin is driving alongside 2020 Formula 2 Champion Mick Schumacher this campaign, and the German has consistently outpaced him so far this season.

However, with Haas’ 2021 challenger proving woefully uncompetitive, neither driver has come close to scoring points, and the American racing outfit are currently last in the Constructors’ Standings

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