In a tweet Wednesday morning, the Haas F1 Team reaffirmed its 2021 driver lineup for Formula One, keeping Nikita Mazepin was out after controversy earlier this month.
“Haas F1 Team would like to reaffirm that Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher will form its driver lineup for the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. As per the team’s previous statement regarding the actions of Nikita Mazepin (December 9) — this matter has now been dealt with internally and no further comment shall be made.”
The team publicly chastised Mazepin two weeks ago after an “abhorrent” since-deleted video of apparent sexual harassment was posted to his Instagram. In the video, which briefly was posted to the story section of Mazepin’s social media account, a woman riding in the back seat of a car is groped in the chest area by someone reaching from the front passenger seat. The woman responds with an obscene gesture.
The team said it was dealing with the matter internally and had no further comment until Wednesday.
That created some doubt around the status of Mazepin, who was hired with F2 champion Mick Schumacher to drive for Haas F1 in 2021.
A change in wording of the social media bios of Mazepin and Pietro Fittipaldi, who replaced injured Haas driver Romain Grosjean in the final two races of the 2020 season, prompted conjecture that Fittipaldi might replace Mazepin next season.
But Wednesday’s statement means Mazepin, who signed a multiyear deal with Haas F1, will begin racing for the team next season.
Mazepin raced in Formula 2 last season. He has F1 experience in a test role with Force India from 2016 through 2018. He had a similar role in 2019 with Mercedes.
Mazepin is the son of Dmitry Mazepin, a Russian billionaire and principal shareholder of a chemicals company who has been linked to buying into other F1 teams including Force India and Williams.
Team Statement: pic.twitter.com/hRpoTAaanM
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) December 23, 2020