Nikita Mazepin has vowed to be a much calmer, more responsible human being after conceding for the first time to making "a huge mistake" with regard to the groping incident last year that landed him in hot water.
Mazepin has faced a stream of abuse and criticism after a video was posted on his Instagram account that showed him inappropriately touching a female passenger in the back of a car ahead of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
At the time, the 22-year-old Russian had only just been confirmed as a Haas driver for this season. The team immediately condemned his behaviour as "abhorrent", while the matter was dealt with internally.
Mazepin has since declared he was "not proud" of what took place and that he has learned and taken responsibility for his actions.
On the day Haas unveiled its new livery for the forthcoming season, Mazepin faced a grilling from the media, including GPFans Global.
Asked whether he understood that what he did was not acceptable behaviour as a person in general, and why it was wrong, Mazepin replied: "Yes, I understand.
"I have taken the responsibility for it, as I've said previously, both on and off the circuit.
"We as human beings have to show a certain behaviour towards each other to live in a calm, humanitarian world. I'm confident I will be one of those humans from now on."
Expanding on the learning process, Mazepin added: "It happened that I made a huge mistake. I've taken responsibility for it, I've learned from it and I'm looking forward to a clean year ahead.
"Graduating to Formula 1 and being a Formula 1 driver means that all of a sudden you become an example to a lot of young kids that are aiming to get to the same championship.
"With that, you have to bring a certain way of behaviour to yourself. I haven't done it instantly, I was too late to realise that, unfortunately.
"With regards to what I've learned, it's quite clear, first of all with behaviour you are meant to bring with yourself, and second, how you are meant to act on social media, and off social media.
"How I reflect on my actions is pretty clear. I'm not happy that I did it, I'm not proud of it.
"I didn't behave as I'm meant to behave being in Formula 1, and the transition phase of realising what I have achieved has been very short and I didn't adapt to it as quick as I should have done.
"But I've taken responsibility for it and I'm ready to keep doing that because I would like to be very firm and certain in my position."
The backlash that Mazepin has faced has been fierce, and will certainly continue in the months ahead regardless of his words.
Mazepin, however, is hopeful that what he does on track will eventually overshadow what happened off it in early December.
"With regards to the image created, I'm not going to be able to put words in people's mouths," said Mazepin, who confirmed it was he who posted the video at the time before it was soon deleted.
"I'm pretty sure I will be delivering on track and I'm confident that with the effort I'm putting in and the actions I'm taking the results will be there and I'll have the racing do the talking."
Mazepin is at least grateful for the team's support and guidance through the issue, adding: "[They have been] Very helpful.
"I would like to say a big thank you to the team because they have been really supportive in helping me to learn through this incident.
"They've been very patient in taking their time in helping me learn this matter further, and I think in my education phase on the whole, with my behaviour in this incident, I'm way further than I've ever been, so that's very helpful."
Mazepin, however, declined to answer when asked whether he had apologised to the woman in the video, who vouched for him afterwards, declaring herself a friend.
"A privacy matter is very important in this case," said Mazepin. "I don't think it would be correct for me to bring other people into this very wide media discussion, and that's why I'm not going to do that."
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