'Abhorrent & honored': Haas F1 team and drivers Mazepin and Schumacher facing media frenzy for very contrasting reasons
Ahead of the start of the next Formula One season, the Haas F1 team has been forced to make very contrasting statements about the two men who will lead them next season, Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher.
The team's public relations department has had a tough week. Ahead of a presumed wave of positive publicity for the team, who have given Michael Schumacher's son, Mick Schumacher, his first drive in Formula One, the team was forced to instead pivot to address criticism levied at their other new driver, Russia's Nikita Mazepin, after he briefly posted a video to social media which appeared to show him groping a women's breast in the back seat of a car without her consent.Also on rt.com F1 team slams Russian driver Nikita Mazepin for 'abhorrent' Instagram clip showing him 'groping woman's breast' in car (VIDEO)
Haas subsequently described Mazepin's behavior in the video as "abhorrent" just a week after the 21-year-old was confirmed as being part of the team in advance of the upcoming season.
Haas boss Guenther Steiner has remained somewhat tight-lipped about the punishment they expect to levy upon their driver, saying only that they intend to keep the matter private and that it will be dealt with internally.
"We take it seriously, what happened, and we will deal with it," he said.
"I just want to say trust us, we will deal with it."
The sport's governing body, the FIA, underscored Haas' reaction, writing in a statement: "The ethical principles and diverse and inclusive culture of our sport are of the utmost importance to the FIA and Formula 1."
But if the Haas team is dealing with some unwanted headaches as a result of Mazepin's actions, it is quite the opposite with their other new recruit.
Mick Schumacher will become the latest driver to appear in F1 with the most famous last name that the sport has ever seen. His father's legacy is that of the sport's most successful star, even if Lewis Hamilton is slowly but surely chipping away at the German's accomplishments.
I would say things went pretty smoothly today in FP1. I was getting used to the car and felt comfortable with every switch and then every switch change in the car. @HaasF1Team@insideFDA#F1#AbuDhabiGP 🇦🇪 pic.twitter.com/xsrcTDUa40— Mick Schumacher (@SchumacherMick) December 11, 2020
And with a tone noticeably different from the one he used to discuss Mazepin's transgression, Steiner this time gleefully said that the introduction of yet another Schumacher (following Michael and Ralf) will be a boost not just to their team, but to the sport as a whole.
"I think it's an exciting moment for the whole of Formula One, not only for us. We are honored to be giving him the first (official) outing," Steiner announced.
"It's a fantastic thing to have a Schumacher back in Formula One."Also on rt.com ‘So proud’: Michael Schumacher’s son Mick recreates dad’s emotional chat with Formula 1 boss after winning Formula 2 crown (VIDEO)
Neither Mazepin nor Schumacher are expected to be in contention for honors at the season's culmination, but in Schumacher's case some see his stint with Haas as a dress rehearsal to see if he may be capable of filling his father's seat at Ferrari.
But either way, Haas and its boss Steiner will be hoping that the headlines generated by their new young team will be centered around what they do in their cars - and in Mazepin's case, not what happens in the back seat of his.