Nikita Mazepin is set to race with the Haas F1 Team next season despite his racing career looking under threat after he groped a model and uploaded a video of the incident onto Instagram.
And, in a recent interview, Mazepin has said he feels that he has received a lot of hate ahead of his debut in Formula One simply because he is Russian.
“There are certain reasons, which have nothing to do with the world of speed, for which I am treated differently,” Nikita, the son of Russian billionaire Dmitry Mazepin, claimed.
“I am used to criticism and I have no problems with it. Other Russian drivers, all at the highest level, professionals in all situations, have heard criticism that was not deserved.
“But life is like that. The fact that Russians are treated differently does not surprise me.”
Continuing, he said he is prepared to deal with this “hate” from F1 fans.
“All Russian drivers receive these criticisms, this hatred. Am I prepared for this? It is part of life. If you want to run, you need to face things like that.”
“You know when you get into F1 there is almost one shot at it, I believe, and it has never been a consideration of how that would be for me,” Mazepin said.
“I had this opportunity come up. We decided to take it on and, regardless of what Guenther has said, I would say that my job is to outperform my team-mate, as always, and do the best I can.
“So the pressure is still there on my shoulders. I believe I am ready for F1 and I want to show it to the team first of all,” he added.