Formula One team Haas have issued a statement condemning the behaviour of their newly signed Russian driver Nikita Mazepin.
The statement was released in response to the posting of a video by Mazepin on his Instagram account on Tuesday night, in which he appears to inappropriately touch a woman's chest.
The Instagram stories post has been deleted since but a strongly-worded statement in response, appeared on the official Haas F1 Twitter account on Wednesday.
"Haas F1 Team does not condone the behavior of Nikita Mazepin in the video recently posted on his social media," reads the post.
"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."
The matter is being dealt with internally and no further comment shall be made at this time. (2/2)
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) December 9, 2020
In the video the 21-year-old from Moscow appears to reach from the passenger seat of a car and inappropriately touch a the chest of a woman, since revealed to be model Andrea D'lVal.
She responds with a hand movement and gestures with her middle finger to the camera before covering the lens.
Despite being deleted, the video was widely circulated on social media and has been widely criticised while Mazepin has also made an apology for the incident.
"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," he wrote in a post on Twitter.
"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."
D'lVal, shared her own statement on Instagram, insisting that the video was a "joke" and that she was the one who posted it on his story.
"Hi guys, I just want to let you know Nikita and I have been good friends for a long time and nothing from that video was serious at all!" she wrote.
"We trust each other so much and this was a silly way of joking between us. I posted this video on his story as an internal joke. I am truly sorry.
"I can give you my word he's really a good person and he would never do anything to hurt or humiliate me."
The impressive F2 driver's recruitment by Haas was announced on 30 November, after testing for Force India (now Racing Point) in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and for world champions Mercedes in the 2019 Barcelona test.
He will be a team-mate of Mick Schumacher, the son of F1 legend Michael Schumacher, who signed a "multi-year" deal to drive for Haas F1 last week.
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