Formula One driver Nikita Mazepin had to apologize today after posting and deleting an Instagram video of him groping a woman. The 22-second video shows Mazepin in the passenger seat reaching back to the backseat and grabbing a woman's breasts before she flips him the bird. A censored version can be found below.
Mazepin apologized for his behavior, for posting the video, and for the embarassment he caused his team.
Mazepin's statement did not include an apology to Andrea D’lVal, the woman in the video. She posted her own statement on Instagram saying she and Mazepin were good friends, calling the interaction "a silly way of joking between us." As one person pointed out, the two friends didn't follow each other on Instagram:
Earlier this month, Mazepin signed to the Haas F1 racing team, which also released a statement:
Mazepin, 21, is fifth in the Formula 2 standings. He's won a pair of races this season, his fourth as a professional driver. Mazepin has a reputation as a dangerous driver: Just last weekend, he was penalized by the sport's governing body for some scary maneuvers.
Mazepin is just as notorious for what he's done off the track. In 2016, after a crash during a practice lap ahead of a Formula 3 race, he punched fellow driver Callum Ilott in the face. Despite starting the fight, Mazepin was banned for only one race, the light punishment enraging others in the driving world. The explanation for the disciplinary leniency afforded to Mazepin is also the same explanation for why he's getting an F1 slot next year while Ilott—who is three spots ahead of him in the F2 standings—is not: Mazepin's father is loaded.
Dmitry Mazepin is a chemical tycoon worth at least $1.8 billion, and he's reportedly "ploughing money" into the Haas team. He's also been linked to an outright purchase of the team. Nikita has also drawn fire for being an asshole online, most recently for appearing to attempt to out another F1 driver. He wouldn't get away with all this if he weren't a billionaire's son.