The Russian racing driver’s conduct prompted backlash and unwavering calls for him to be dropped by the Haas F1 Team.
However, the American racing outfit decided to allow Mazepin to keep his seat, and he made his F1 debut earlier this year in Bahrain.
His first race lasted a matter of seconds – with him spinning and crashing into the barriers in the opening complex of corners – and he had countless spins in the opening races of 2021.
Commenting on these struggles and his pre-season conduct, Mazepin said he “went through some difficult times” and stressed that “mental health is important.”
“I went through some difficult times, some learning times,” Mazepin said in an interview with GP Fans.
“I think mental health is an important thing. There are people out there who are struggling much more than me, so I cannot really complain.
“At the end of the day, when I turn up to a race track in Bahrain, everything is new to me. “I think the confidence that you’re referring to is more to do with me not being confident in driving that very fast new car that I’ve only had one and a half days of testing in.
“Obviously, it’s one thing testing. The other thing is 19 very fast drivers around at a very high speed.
“Life’s a big learning curve. I’m just getting better in everything I do, and try to improve as the day goes on,” he concluded.
Steiner Pleased ‘Never-Ending Story’ Is Over
Earlier this month, Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner said he was pleased that negative media coverage related to the Mazepin groping scandal had died down.
“I mean, not being in the headlines he was in, it’s a very good thing,” Steiner said.
“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.
“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’,” Steiner added.