Shortly after being announced as a Haas F1 driver for the 2021 season, a video was uploaded to Mazepin’s Instagram account in which he was shown groping a woman’s chest in the back of a car.
Haas called the incident “abhorrent” and Mazepin apologised before the team dealt with the matter internally, keeping the details of its action private.
Speaking in an open media call for the first time since the incident, Mazepin said he was “not proud” of what happened and that he took full responsibility for his actions.
“How I reflect on my actions is pretty clear, I’m not proud of it,” Mazepin said.
“I didn’t behave as I’m meant to behave, being in Formula 1 and the transition phase of realising what I have achieved has been very short, and I didn’t adapt to it as I should have had.
“I’ve taken responsibility for it, and I’m ready to keep doing so.”
Mazepin has been subject to a widespread social media backlash since the incident, with the hashtag #WeSayNoToMazepin regularly trending in response to any post by either himself or the Haas team.
Mazepin said in regards to his image that he was “not going to be able to put words into people’s mouths”, but wanted to do his talking on track.
“I am pretty sure that I will be delivering on track,” Mazepin said. “I’m confident with the effort I’m putting in and the direction I’m taking, the results will be there, and I’m going to try and have the racing do the talking.”
Mazepin praised the Haas team for helping educate him in the wake of the incident, saying it had been “very helpful”.
“They have been really supportive in helping me to learn from this incident,” Mazepin said.
“They’ve been very patient in taking the time and helping me learn from this matter further, and I think that in my education phase on the whole behaviour, I’m way further than I’ve ever been, so that is very helpful.”
When asked what in particular he had learned from the incident, specifically relating to the treatment of women and his conduct with women, Mazepin replied: “Graduating to Formula 1 and being a Formula 1 driver means that all of a sudden, you become an example to a lot of young kids who are aiming to get into the same championship.
“With that, you have to bring a certain way of behaviour towards yourself. I haven’t done it instantly.
“And in regards to what I’ve learned, it’s quite clear, first of all, with the behaviour that you are meant to bring with yourself, and second how you are meant to act on social media, and off social media.”
Mazepin would not comment on if he had apologised to the woman in the video, saying it was a “private matter”.
Asked if he understood the behaviour was unacceptable not only as an F1 driver but as a human being, Mazepin said: “Yes, I understand. I have taken the responsibility for it, as I said previously.
“Both on and off the circuit, we as human beings have to show a certain behaviour towards each other to live in a calm and humane world.”