Russian racing driver Nikita Mazepin caused a storm on social media last week after he posted a video of him groping an Instagram model onto his Instagram story.
F1 fans quickly called on the Haas F1 Team to tear up Mazepin’s contract and find a replacement for him.
However, the Haas F1 Team instead issued a statement condemning the “abhorrent” incident and said they would deal with the matter internally, without providing further information.
Calls for Nikita Mazepin’s contract to be voided by the Haas F1 Team are persisting, with a petition gaining over 30,000 signatures.
However, some people believe that the matter is being blown out of proportion and it’s simply time to move on.
For instance, Igor Ermilin, a former presidential advisor to Russia’s auto racing federation, suggested that the matter has been dealt with and the F1 community should stop using it to discredit Mazepin.
“Today, Formula 1 drivers are emasculated, because of their communication with the media, with corporations, with sponsors. There are very few individuals left now,” Ermilin said.
Continuing, he said: “Social media is an evil that unfortunately gives everyone the opportunity to interfere with others’ privacy. A Formula 1 driver is a normal person who faces consequences for every sneeze.
“Everyone knows that similar things happen in the personal lives of everyone else. We must give those involved with sport the opportunity to remain human.”
Meanwhile, Vitaly Petrov’s former manager, Oksana Kosachenko, also insisted that the incident shouldn’t spell the end of Mazepin’s racing career.
“Everything that had to be done, Nikita did. He apologised and I think that’s enough. Because of a second and a half of footage, it became the biggest nightmare story of all time and everything must be taken away from him now?
“His words made absolutely clear that he has drawn all the conclusions, namely, that as a Formula 1 driver you are under closer scrutiny by both the media and enemies in the paddock.
“He has the brains, the competent management and parents who will tell him how to behave in this situation,” she concluded.