JANUARY 18, 2021
Mazepin ready for more hate in Formula 1
Nikita Mazepin thinks he is receiving more "hate" than any other Russian driver who came before him in Formula 1.
However, he thinks fans and the media also treated Vitaly Petrov, Daniil Kvyat and Sergey Sirotkin unfairly.
"They are all top racers, professionals, and some things that were said about them were undeserved. But that is life, and I will try to fight it better than they did," he told Match TV commentator Alexey Popov's podcast.
In recent weeks, a fierce campaign on social media waged by fans and members of the specialist media has been pressuring Haas to oust 2021 rookie Mazepin over an alleged groping video.
The 21-year-old has also been criticised for several on-track incidents in Formula 2.
"The fact that Russians are assessed differently is not a surprise for me," said Mazepin. "I grew up in Russia and I want to stay here, so I understand and am ready to accept the fact that there will be such an attitude."
Mazepin said he thinks he is the least fairly-treated Russian in Formula 1 so far.
"I think there are few Russian drivers who have faced as much hate or hype as I do," he insisted. "Am I ready for this? It's a part of life. If you want to race, you have to face it.
"But I am about sports - I am not concerned with what happens off the track. I am not in my house, I have come to visit, so you need to play by their rules.
"I know that when you enter F1 there is almost always only one opportunity, and I will be no different," said Mazepin.
He was also asked about supposed comments by Gunther Steiner to the effect that Haas needs Mazepin for the money that his wealthy father Dmitry can bring to the American team.
"Regardless of what Gunther said, I would say my job as always is to beat my teammate and do my best. So there is always pressure on my shoulders," said Mazepin.
"I think I'm ready for F1 and above all I want to show that to the team."