Thursday, December 2News That Matters

F1: Nikita Mazepin’s rocky start continues after new Haas driver is penalised for holding up Perez

Controversial driver Nikita Mazepin was awarded the first penalty of his Formula One career after holding up race leader Sergio Perez at the Portuguese Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver branded the Russian an ‘idiot’ over his team radio after the two almost came together despite Mazepin being shown blue flags.

The FIA and stewards investigated the incident and noted that his Haas team were slow to warn him about Perez, who was closing in to lap the 22-year-old, but still gave him a time penalty and a point on his license. 

Controversial driver Nikita Mazepin was awarded the first penalty of his Formula One career

Controversial driver Nikita Mazepin was awarded the first penalty of his Formula One career

Controversial driver Nikita Mazepin was awarded the first penalty of his Formula One career

The Haas driver was holding up race leader Sergio Perez at the Portuguese Grand Prix

The Haas driver was holding up race leader Sergio Perez at the Portuguese Grand Prix

The Haas driver was holding up race leader Sergio Perez at the Portuguese Grand Prix

With the five-second penalty, Mazepin still finished 19th at the back of the grid, due to Kimi Raikkonen retiring the race, and his position was unchanged as a result.

Formula One race director Michael Masi revealed that the penalty was awarded more for the danger of not getting out of the way rather than ignoring persistent blue flags.

‘It wasn’t so much the number of blue flags that were ignored, it was more so the incident which was shown on the broadcast, on the host, with Sergio at turn three and the near-collision that was caused under blue flags.

‘It wasn’t actually for the number of panels, it was more for not effectively getting out of the way at the earliest opportunity and nearly causing an incident as a result.’

Mazepin’s start to Formula One has been fraught with controversy and disappointment ever since he was announced as one of the two new drivers in Haas line-up.

His father Dmitry invested in the F1 team before the 2021 season during the coronavirus pandemic and it is widely understood that Nikita benefitted from the sponsorship with a seat on the grid.

However, immediately after he was announced by the American team, masses of fans wanted the Russian gone after a video he posted to social media of him groping a woman’s breast.

Nikita Mazepin crashed after three turns of his Formula One debut race for the Haas team

Nikita Mazepin crashed after three turns of his Formula One debut race for the Haas team

Nikita Mazepin crashed after three turns of his Formula One debut race for the Haas team

In the Instagram stories clip, Mazepin reaches and appears to touch the woman sat in the back seat in an inappropriate way

In the Instagram stories clip, Mazepin reaches and appears to touch the woman sat in the back seat in an inappropriate way

The video was later removed from Mazepin's Instagram account

The video was later removed from Mazepin's Instagram account

In an Instagram stories clip in December, Mazepin reaches and appears to touch a woman sat in the back seat of a car in an inappropriate way. He later apologised for the video

Despite the strong will against Mazepin’s involvement in the F1 season, Haas stuck by their driver – but it didn’t get much better on his debut in Bahrain.

Mazepin veered off into the barriers seconds after the start, with the new Aston Martin safety car deployed for the first time. He did not appear injured and was able to jog away from his wrecked car. 

Sunday’s race at the Algarve International circuit was the first time he finished a Formula One race after he brought his car home in last place.