F1's Nikita Mazepin Gropes Woman in Instagram Video, Sparking Outcry

Nikita Mazepin, a Formula 2 driver, is set to join the Haas Formula 1 team in time for the 2021 [...]

Nikita Mazepin, a Formula 2 driver, is set to join the Haas Formula 1 team in time for the 2021 season. However, his seat may now be in doubt after a controversial Instagram video. The driver showed him groping a woman, prompting public outcry and a strongly-worded statement from the Haas Team.

Mazepin posted a video on his Instagram profile that quickly went viral. According to the New York Post, the video showed him sitting in a vehicle's passenger seat before panning to show a female in the back seat. The driver reached back and grabbed the woman on the chest. She responded by moving his hand away before flipping him off and hitting the camera. Mazepin ultimately pulled the video from his profile.

"Haas F1 Team does not condone the behavior of Nikita Mazepin in the video recently posted on his social media," the statement said. "Additionally, the very fact the video was posted on social media is also abhorrent to Haas F1 Team. The matter is being dealt with internally and no further comment shall be made at this time."

The 21-year-old driver also released a statement of his own about the video. He apologized for his actions and promised to learn from the situation. He then closed out the F2 season with a fifth-place finish.

"I would like to apologize for my recent actions both in terms of my own inappropriate behavior and the fact that it was posted onto social media," Mazepin said in his statement. "I am sorry for the offense I have rightly caused and to the embarrassment, I have brought to Haas F1 Team. I have to hold myself to a higher standard as a Formula 1 driver and I acknowledge I have let myself and many people down. I promise I will learn from this."

Following the incident and the public outcry, the woman from the video, Andrea D'lVal, spoke out. She identified herself and said that she and the F2 driver had been friends for a very long time. D'IVal also said that nothing from the video was serious.

"We trust each other so much and this was a silly way of joking between us," D'IVal said. "I posted this video on his story as an internal joke. I am truly sorry. I can give you my word he's a really good person and he would never do anything to hurt me or humiliate me."