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Trigger warning: Sexual assault, violence. If you need support or someone to talk to, please call 1800RESPECT.

Haas F1 team confirmed that Nikita Mazepin will remain a part of its 2021 driver line-up, despite groping a woman and posting a video of the act onto social media.

“Haas F1 Team would like to reaffirm that Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher will form its driver line-up for the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World championship.

As per the team’s previous statement regarding the actions of Nikita Mazepin (December 9th) this matter has now been dealt with internally and no further comment shall be made.”

Haas F1 team statement

This follows speculation that the American outfit was prepared to sack Mazepin, which would have ultimately created an extremely strong stance against sexual assault, not just in Formula One but the world in general.

Following the incident which occurred just nine days into his new job, Haas F1 condemned the video with Mazepin releasing an apology which was deleted from his account just a few days later.

The sheer fact that F1 and the FIA have lacked any action or detailed statement, yet investigated Lewis Hamilton over a t-shirt they deemed inappropriate, perhaps shows just how ‘seriously’ this act is being dealt with.

How this hasn’t cost him his Formula One drive is incomprehensible and has us questioning is this really a safe place for women?

Let’s not forget that in 2018 grid girls were no longer seen in Formula One, a decision made in an attempt to remove the deep rooted sexism which still encompasses the motoring world, removing the lack of diversity and ultimately modernising the sport.

At the time, Managing Director of commercial operations Sean Bratches, announced the use of grid girls “does not resonate with our brand values and is clearly at odds with modern day societal norms.”

Yet they choose to remain silent when one of their drivers allegedly sexually assaults a girl in a car, films it and posts it onto social media.

Without a doubt, more should have been done from the pinnacle of motorsport.

To remind you, this is not the first time that Nikita Mazepin has acted out of line off the track let alone on it – back in 2016 he was banned from a Formula 3 race after assaulting fellow driver Callum Ilott, leaving the Brit with a black eye and swollen jaw.

Just this year the 20-year-old left the Formula 2 championship with a mere penalty point away from an automatic ban.

Points that weirdly won’t carry into F1.

I’d like to believe that morals and ethics are more important than money in this sport, but as is becoming evident this is clearly not always the case.

So, do we really ‘race as one’ or was that all just for show?

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