Formula 1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali says he will speak to drivers ahead of the 2021 season and in particular with Nikita Mazepin to remind the group that they are role models for the sport.
Mazepin kicked up a storm at the end of last year when he posted a short video of himself on Instagram groping a young woman in the back seat of a car.
The clip was quickly deleted by the Russian but went viral on other social media channels, generating a wave of outrage from F1 fans who called on Haas to fire its newly signed young rookie.
Haas condemned its driver’s actions, insisting the incident has been addressed and settled in private. But Domenicali wants to make sure that the field is conscious that it must remain at all times on its best behavior, on and off the track.
“I would say that it was pretty clear what he did was not acceptable,” Domenicali said in a virtual call with the media on Thursday.
“But I think that he was apologetic as a reaction to what he did and we need to make sure that in the discussions that we will have… that they understand we cannot joke about certain things. It’s not possible.
“They are too important not to understand they are role models… that is something that we are going to discuss together, not only with him, at the appropriate time.”
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Domenical said that he had extended an invitation to F1’s class of 2021 for a meeting that will likely take place in Bahrain during pre-season testing in March or ahead of the season opening round at Sakhir.
“We cannot lose the opportunity in making sure they understand they are more than drivers, they have a big responsibility because they are the face of our sport,” added the Italian.
“They have to understand that their behaviour and their words and a lead-by-example approach is what I am expecting to share with them.
“I want to share how I believe we should work together also in using our platform and their role model to push for issues that are important for our society.”
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