NIKITA MAZEPIN has apologised after posting a video of himself groping a girl in the back of a car.
It was announced last week that the Russian would be joining Haas for the 2021 Formula 1 season.
But there have already been calls from fans to sack the 21-year-old, after he posted the disturbing video online.
Having deleted the post, Mazepin has now taken to social media to apologise for his actions, insisting that he has to ‘hold himself to a higher standard’.
He wrote: “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.
“I promise I will learn from this.”
A woman who claims to have been in the video, however, has insisted the incident was an ‘internal joke’ between ‘friends’.
She wrote: “Hi guys, I just want to let you know Nikita and I have been good friends for a long time and nothing from the video was serious at all!
“We trust each other so much and this was a silly way of joking between us.
“I posted the video on his story as an internal joke. I am truly sorry.
“I can give you my word he’s a really good person and he would never do anything to hurt or humiliate me.”
Following the incident, Haas have also released their own statement.
They wrote: “Haas F1 Team does not condone the behaviour of Nikita Mazepin in the video recently posted on his social media.
“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.”
Mazepin competed for Hitech Racing in F2 during the 2020 season, coming fifth behind Robert Shwartzman, Yuki Tsunoda, Calum Ilott and Mick Schumacher.