The Haas Formula 1 team has condemned its 2021 signing Nikita Mazepin’s behaviour in a video the team says was “abhorrent” to upload.
Mazepin shared a first-person video filmed from the perspective of a passenger in a road car, turning to a female passenger in the back seat and touching her breast.
She raised her middle finger to the camera while continuing to be touched.
The video was shared on Mazepin’s Instagram story with a caption that tagged the passenger and said “shes the best”.
Mazepin’s own statement addressing the video admitted it was his own behaviour.
“Haas F1 Team does not condone the behaviour of Nikita Mazepin in the video recently posted on his social media,” said a Haas statement.
“Additionally, the very fact that 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.”
Mazepin said: “I would like to apologise for my recent actions both in terms of my inappropriate behaviour and the fact it was posted onto social media.
“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.”
Another statement shortly after Haas’s was shared from the same account that Mazepin tagged in the initial video.
She said “nothing from that video was serious at all”, that it was “a silly way of joking between us”. She also took responsibility for posting the video herself on Mazepin’s account.
Claiming they have been “good friends for a longtime” she insisted “he’s a really good person and he would never do anything to hurt me or humiliate me”.
Mazepin is due to graduate to F1 next year after finishing fifth in F2.
The 21-year-old Russian is the son of billionaire Dimtry Mazepin, who has supported his career to date.
On-track he has had a controversial season, finishing his campaign one licence penalty point short of a race ban.
This is not the first time Mazepin’s actions on social media have courted criticism either.
He recently wrote “happy birthday covid” to mark “1 year since the guy in Wuhan ate a [bat emoji]” in reference to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 1.5million people worldwide and had a devastating human and economic impact globally.