MARCH 2, 2021
F1 fans finding controversy everywhere says Popov
Formula 1 is falling victim to "people who are finding controversy everywhere".
That is the view of Alexey Popov, the commentator for Russian broadcaster Match TV.
He has already spoken out about the treatment of his countryman Nikita Mazepin, who has been the subject of a relentless social media attack in the wake of an alleged groping video.
"I do take the full responsibility for it," 21-year-old Mazepin has now told ESPN.
"It was a very big learning experience and I can confidently say that I'm much further in my knowledge on this kind of matter than I used to be, so there's a small bit of positivity there."
However, even Mazepin's rookie teammate Mick Schumacher is now under attack on social media after answering "no comment" during a newspaper interview when asked about anti-racism activism.
"Even Mick Schumacher is getting it now," Popov said.
"The guy is just making his debut and hasn't done anything bad to anyone. But there are people who are finding controversy everywhere.
"As soon as he was beginning to get acquainted with his team - the most exciting days for a beginner - and immediately he's in trouble like this. But he didn't do anything," he added.
Meanwhile, Alpha Tauri boss Franz Tost has hit back at a conspiracy theory that has reared its head once again in the past days. Some believe Schumacher was helped to the 2018 F3 title with an illegally powerful engine in the second half of the season.
"There are umpteen such conspiracy theories that I have experienced in the past," Tost told motorsport-total.com.
"On this one there is a clear counter-argument. After Spa, the race in Austria was straight after and it was raining cats and dogs, when engine power is not so important. And he won that one too.
"Mick is just a driver who takes a little longer before he has everything under control. I see him being very, very successful in Formula 1," Tost added.