Even before the Russian posted the video, which shows him laughing while groping a young woman in the back of a car, Mazepin was gaining an unwelcome reputation.
At the opening round of the Formula 3 European Championship in 2016, the Russian made the headlines for the wrong reasons, when he punched rival Callum Ilott in the face after he felt the British driver had blocked him. As a result of the incident he was excluded from the next round.
After pushing Yuki Tsunoda wide at Spa last year, Mazepin was handed a 5 second time penalty which cost him victory, while at the season finale, days after being announced as a Haas driver for 2021, he was handed two penalties for his dangerous on-track antics.
Speaking to TheRace.com, team boss Guenther Steiner insists the video affair is not “done and dusted” and that the Russian “needs to grow up”.
“This is a young man who needs to grow up and for sure we have dealt with this and we will continue to deal with this,” said Steiner.
“We are not saying that this was OK and letting him get away with it,” he added in reaction to claims the matter had been swept under the carpet. “We are educating him and will keep on educating him for his future.
“There will be consequences if this or something similar happens again,” he warned.
“We have put things in place that will help him to get better and make sure this doesn’t happen again; not to make the same mistake again, because this was a clear mistake.”
Meanwhile, on social media, fans using the #Wesaynotomazepin hashtag have called on the American team, indeed F1, to act, claiming that his actions over the years make a mockery of the sport’s ongoing drive for inclusivity and respect.
“People have an opinion, that’s fine,” said Steiner of the social media campaign, “also internally people didn’t like what happened, and this is why we continue to take this seriously.
“This is a distraction that we don’t want, but sometimes these things happen.”