Nikita Mazepin has just promoted from Formula 2. However, even before having his first F1 race for Haas, the Russian driver feels there is a prevalence of hatred towards the racers that come from his country.
Since his racing debut at the 2014–15 MRF Challenge Formula 2000 Championship Nikita Mazepin has become a name riddled with multiple controversies over the years.
In 2016, Mazepin was suspended from from a Formula 3 European race after he got involved into a squabble with Callum Ilott and punched the other driver in the face.
He was handed 11 penalty points in his F2 campaign last year, just one penalty point less than having an automatic race ban.
Moreover, the fresh controversy surrounding Mazepin groping a woman caught the attention of the fanbase, especially after the driver deleted the apology he publicly made himself.
All Russian drivers receive these criticisms, this hatred: Nikita Mazepin
Already having become a controversial figure before having his first F1 race, Mazepin believes the slack he receives is because of his nationality and its the same reason why his compatriots in the sport have been subjected to same.
“I am used to criticism and I have no problems with it,” Mazepin told Russian TV program Match TV, “Other Russian drivers, all at the highest level, professionals in all situations, have heard criticism that was not deserved.”
“The fact that Russians are treated differently does not surprise me,” the 21-year-old went on, “all Russian drivers receive these criticisms, this hatred.”
“Am I prepared for this? It is part of life. If you want to run, you need to face things like that,” added Mazepin. (H/T Motorsport.com)
On 1st December last year, Nikita Mazepin signed a multi-year deal with the Haas F1 Team and will be the fourth Russian F1 driver of all time, after Vitaly Petrov, Sergey Sirotkin, and Daniil Kvyat.
Despite the controversies, Haas decided to retain Mazepin as team boss asserted himself as “not the type of guy who kicks in the face someone who is on their knees.”
“We are not saying this was okay and letting him get away with it. We are educating him and will keep on educating him for his future,” the team boss said in early January.