Nikita Mazepin, a Driver worthy of F1?

And We’re Off To A Good Start…

When future F1 drivers are vastly talked about, it is usually a sign that they are thought to become great drivers in the near or distant future. However, this is not the case for Nikita Mazepin. The young Russian driver recently hired by Haas and already infamous for his not so sportsmanlike driving behaviour. Sure enough, the son of Russian oligarch and owner of the industrial giant Uralchem Dmitry Mazepin (net worth roughly evaluated around $1.5 billion) has recently found himself in the middle of a grave outrage when he posted on his Instagram account a video featuring him driving his Bentley while in the back seat, a drunken girl (model Alma de Caribe) is being groped by another man. Despite the futile attempt to hide the evidence by cancelling it, the video was already circulating on the net. Prompting an immediate as much as indignant response of the internet, who in the blink of an eye started a virtual petition to ban Nikita Mazepin from Formula One racing. Clearly, after the havoc that video and its massive diffusion caused, the Haas team could not let it slide (more or less) and officially stated their condemn for such display of disrespect towards women. Adding that fitting measures would be taken internally within the team. Shortly after Mazepin himself tweeted, in which he made amends for his actions and his inappropriate and unworthy behaviour that damaged both Haas’ and his reputation. However, the moralists that creep on the Internet still wanted his head, and their wrath was only partly mitigated by Alma de Caribe’s words. She explained that she was not assaulted, that she and Nikita are good friends and, finally, that she herself posted the video in Nikita’s stories as a joke. Still, it seems that Mazepin’s reputation is still long to be recovered from this scandal. Maybe, just maybe, that is due to the other “unfortunate” situations which he was involved in.

The Very Sportsmanlike Nikita Mazepin

Mazepin’s career, albeit being not so long, is already studded with many penalties and on-track controversies. First in temporal order, we have the 2016 Hungarian Grand Prix, after which he was disqualified for a race since he punched Callum Ilott twice in the face because the latter blocked the former during free practice (yes, you read it right…). Oh and by the way, Nikita was still driving in European F3. Then we have the 2019 Sochi GP, during which he displayed an undoubted lack of respect toward his fellow drivers by cutting the first turn at the start of the race causing a big collision. Therefore, he was penalised for the successive Grand Prix. Finally, we have the 2020 Shakir Grand Prix, during which he received two five-seconds penalties for his very aggressive defensive manoeuvres against Tsunoda and Drugovich. This pretty much covers his not so wholesome behaviour on track. However, an aggressive driving style does not mean he is a bad person outside the track. Unfortunately, this appears not to be the case.

Good Thing Ethics Does Not Score Him F1 Points

The aforementioned scandal is not the only one that saw Nikita involved. Some weeks ago, a girl posted a conversation she had with the Russian driver in which he tried to convince her to send him some nudes in exchange for prestigious tickets for various Grand Prix’s. Moreover, he also made an Instagram story in which he celebrated Covid-19 birthday, even with a kiss emoji. And talking about inappropriate comments, Mazepin, during a live of George Russell’s, stated that he knew something about him that some people could call as a coming out. But it is not over yet, as we have to mention that time, he hosted a party in a secret room of a disco, filming it on his social media. However, that day regional mourning was proclaimed as nine miners had died in Uralkali. Quite ironically, that mine belonged to his father.  Last but not least, just because racism was missing, from the count, here we have Mazepin not condemning his followers for racial slurs towards another fan, who however received a replay from the Russian driver in which he stated that, that was the real word.

The Real Question

Is Nikita Mazepin really deserving of driving in Formula One, the highest and most prestigious class of motorsport? Well, that indeed is a tricky question. Ethically, it could be argued that he is not worthy, as we have already seen in the course of this article that his actions and behaviour, both on the track and off the track, are not to praised in any conceivable way. However, not every F1 driver was a saint, and by our modern standards James Hunt would be considered an unrepentant womanizer who should never see a race car for the rest of his live. Perhaps, we should concentrate on what he has achieved in his racing career, that is a second place in the 2018 GP3 Series (behind Anthoine Hubert), a 18th place in 2019 Formula 2 (while his teammate De Vries won the title) and a fifth place in 2020 Formula 2 (arriving in front of his more expert teammate Luca Ghiotto), with two wins. So, in conclusion, its safe to say that, despite his manners not been up to scratch, he is not just a playboy driver, using his fathers wealth and influence he has shown he has the talent required to drive an F1 car. I mean, he cannot be more disappointing than Latifi…