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Haas F1 condemn Russian driver over 'abhorrent' Instagram video

The 21-year-old Russian - who was confirmed as a new Haas driver last week - appeared in a now-deleted video on his Instagram Stories, where he seemed to inappropriately touch a woman's chest on the back seat of a car.

The woman reacts by moving her hand in reaction to being touched, seemingly in rejection of Mazepin's action, before gesturing at the camera with her middle finger and covering the lens.

The short video, although removed, circulated online and received widespread criticism.

Haas responded with a brief statement confirming the team will deal with the matter "internally".

"Haas F1 Team does not condone the behaviour of Nikita Mazepin in the video recently posted on his social media," said the 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."

The Russian driver issued an apology on Twitter for causing an "offense".

He said: "I would like to apologise for my recent actions both in terms of my own inappropriate behaviour and the fact that 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."

He added: "I promise I will learn from this."

The woman in the video, model Andrea D'IVal, insisted on Instagram that her and Mazepin are "good friends" and that the video was a "joke".

She said: "We trust each other so much and this was a silly way of joking between us. I posted this video on his story as an internal joke. I am truly sorry.

"I can give you my word he's really a good person and he would never do anything to hurt or humiliate me."

Mazepin's father, billionaire businessman Dmitry Mazepin, is ploughing money into the Haas team.

His son finished fifth in the Formula 2 championship this season, 51 points behind the title winner and his soon-to-be teammate Mick Schumacher - son of the seven-time world champion Michael.

Reference: Sabah Choudhry, news reporter  

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