Haas F1 driver Nikita Mazepin taking the blame for inappropriate behavior

Haas F1 Mazepin apologizes
Haas F1

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Haas F1 driver Nikita Mazepin has taken full responsibility and apologizes after being filmed groping a woman in an apparent episode of sexual harassment.

The behavior was condemned as “abhorrent” by his new Haas team in December. The video showed Mazepin apparently groping a woman’s chest in a car. The video quickly circulated on Instagram Stories and across social networks before Mazepin deleted it.

“I’m not proud of it,” Mazepin said Thursday at his team’s online car launch. “I have taken the responsibility for it both on and off the circuit. As human beings (we) have to show a certain behavior towards each other.”

Mazepin said he did not upload the video but blamed himself nevertheless.

“There is no confusion from my side. I take the responsibility for my actions, I’m very firm in that. In regards to the video coming onto social media, I can say that it wasn’t my hands that have put it there.”

Mazepin, 22, did not say if he has apologized to the woman.

“I think a privacy matter is very important in this case,” he said. “I don’t think it would be correct for me to bring other people into this very wide media discussion.”

He is the son of Russian billionaire Dmitry Mazepin, who financially backs the racing effort. The car’s new livery carries the colors of the Russian flag: White on top, blue in the middle, red on the bottom – and the name of his father’s fertilizer company.

He is the second driver in F1 with a billionaire father involved. Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll’s father owns the team.

“It doesn’t really bother me because I am proud of my family, proud of my father, and I am not taking this in a negative way,” Mazepin said. “I have to prove myself in F1 and I am going to do it.”

He will be racing against F2 champion Mick Schumacher, the son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.

Mazepin was asked if he can beat Schumacher, his rival in F2 last year and in previous categories.

“I’ve done it before, when we competed in the same car, and I’ve also been beaten by him in the same car, so I think it’s all up for grabs,” said Mazepin, fifth in F2 last year. “The challenge will be very interesting there, no doubt.”

The 21-year-old Schumacher, meanwhile, has been working on strength building.

“My main focus has been neck training,” he said. “I’ve been training my neck since mid-December every day. I feel very fit, I feel very good.”

The season starts on March 28 at the Bahrain Grand Prix, with preseason also taking place in Bahrain next weekend.

It seems an appropriate place for Schumacher to start his F1 career, since his father won the inaugural race there in 2004 in style, with the fastest lap and pole position.

“My father won there so definitely good memories. There is a corridor going to the track filled with (photos) of each (winner). Seeing my dad on there is very special,” he said. “I’m very happy to carry that surname and to carry that name back into F1. I’m very proud of it, it’s like a boost for me.”

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023


Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.