Russian rookie Nikita Mazepin needs to grow up and has not been let off the hook for causing offence with a video on social media last month, his Haas Formula 1 team boss Guenther Steiner said on Friday.
The 21-year-old driver, whose father is a fertiliser billionaire, angered the team when images of a female passenger being groped in the back of a car appeared on his Instagram feed.
The footage was swiftly deleted and Mazepin apologised, with Haas addressing the situation internally, but Steiner said in a column for The Race that the matter was “not done and dusted.”
“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,” he said.
“We are not saying that this was OK and letting him get away with it. We are educating him and will keep on educating him for his future. There will be consequences if this or something similar happens again.
“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.”
The hashtag #WeSayNoToMazepin has spread on Twitter since the incident.
Steiner, whose other driver in an all-new lineup is Ferrari great Michael Schumacher’s 21-year-old son Mick, said he was aware of the social media response.
“People have an opinion, that’s fine, also internally people didn’t like what happened, and this is why we continue to take this seriously,” he added.
“This is a distraction that we don’t want, but sometimes these things happen.”