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Mazepin "chastened" by backlash insists Steiner

NEWS STORY
22/02/2021

As the social media campaign against their driver continues, Haas boss, Guenther Steiner insists that Nikita Mazepin has been "chastened" by the backlash following that video.

Earlier this week, a number of fans leapt to the defence of the administrator of Haas' social media accounts after others once again let rip with a torrent of abuse as the backlash over Nikita Mazepin continues.

The Russian had already riled fans with his actions over the years, not least by punching F3 rival, Callum Ilott in 2016, believing the Briton had deliberately blocked him during a race. Late last year, after being announced as Mick Schumacher's teammate at Haas, the infamous video posted to his own social media account appearing to show him groping a young woman caused further outrage... as did the team's apparent failure to deal with the Russian.

Even before his F1 debut, Mazepin remains surrounded by controversy, and in the same way he is dividing fans, some within the paddock also have their doubts.

"You can't make a tiger out of a cow!" said Franz Tost in a recent TV interview, and though he didn't name the Russian, most felt they knew exactly who he was referring to as he sang the praises of fellow rookie Yuki Tsunoda.

"In my long time in motorsport, I have found that, in the end, only drivers who are intelligent and know why they are doing something will prevail," said the Austrian. "Of course, I could get brutal again and say you can't make a tiger out of a cow!" he added. "In the end, it always depends on how much brain a driver has and then switches on in the cockpit"

"The social media response from all kind of groups was robust, wanting us to execute him for what he did, but that didn't feel like the right course either," team owner, Gene Haas told Racer this week.

"Our response to it was, I think Guenther told him that he was an idiot and you can't do things like that, and it was totally unacceptable," added the American who, already disillusioned with the sport, must surely be fearing the possibility of Mazepin inflicting further damage to his team.

"He's 21-years-old, for a young man the deluge of criticism must have been difficult to take," said the American. "I'm hoping it's a good lesson learned. We'll just have to see how that goes."

Steiner insists that Mazepin is chastened by the reaction.

We continue to have dialogue with Nikita about many things, including what happened at the end of last season," he told Racer.

"He took immediate responsibility for his actions. He apologised. He's learned from this experience. He's undoubtedly been chastened by it, and he'll apply that moving forward in his career.

"The response on social media towards him is still strong," he admitted, "we're naturally aware of that via our team posts.

"While respecting that people are entitled to voice their opinions, no matter how vigorous, as a team we feel we have provided Nikita with the best environment to learn from this."

Time will tell.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 22/02/2021 11:12

"@Roli...when you are cognisant of all the exact details of both the incident and what followed then you are free to demand whatever you like but why should he apologise to you? Are you a victim of this blown up out of all proportion incident as well? From my reading the girl herself denied being 'outraged' and that she and Mazepin. are good friends! "

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2. Posted by Roli, 21/02/2021 20:51

"If he only PUBLICLY apologized to the poor girl, and to all the fans of F1, it would make it more acceptable. The fact that he hasnt just goes to show that he thinks he is above all these "poor people" who question his presence in F1. He will be a failure, a huge failure and Haas should ditch him right away."

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3. Posted by kenji, 21/02/2021 11:09

" What Mazepin did in his own private time does not concern me and I will refrain from passing judgement. There are always two sides to any story. What does concern me is what he has done within the confines of his racing of his racing environment. A bit of biffo has always been on the cards..Senna for example or even Verstappen on Ocon a couple of seasons ago. What he can't be absolved from was his racing where he forced other drivers off track and risked major accidents which could have had extreme results. F1 is a different league and he is now playing with adults who don't take kindly to intimidation. He will be the most watched driver during the series..and rightly so."

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