The Haas Formula 1 Team has been facing a lot of criticism after confirming that they won't be dropping Russian driver Nikita Mazepin from their 2021 lineup despite massive public clamor following a social media scandal that rocked the racing world earlier this month.

The team issued a statement on social media stating that the "Haas F1 Team would like to reaffirm that Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher will form its driver lineup for the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. As per the team's previous statement regarding the actions of Nikita Mazepin (December 9) - this matter has now been dealt with internally and no further comment shall be made."

Team Statement:

— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) December 23, 2020

The scandal is connected to a video that was posted on Mazepin's Instagram account, which shows him grabbing a woman's breast inside a car. The Russian was recording the video from the passenger seat and he could be seen reaching over to the back seat to inappropriately touch the woman. She could be seen grabbing his hand and giving him the finger before the video was cut.

Mazepin, who has recently been confirmed to race alongside Mick Schumacher for the American owned Haas F1 Team next season, issued a public apology shortly thereafter. The team also issued an earlier statement on the matter.

"Haas F1 Team does not condone the behaviour of Nikita Mazepin in the video recently posted on his social media. Additionally, the very fact that the video was posted on social media is also abhorrent to Haas F1 Team. The matter is being dealt with internally and no further comment shall be made at this time."

Formula 1 fans around the world are up in arms about the "soft" reaction by the team. Haas has been hit by heavy criticism, especially since it is a well-known fact that Mazepin is the son of a Russian billionaire. The team is heavily dependent on funding that will be flowing in from the oligarch. Needless to say, Haas may not be able to afford to even be in F1 without Nikita.

It remains to be seen if the controversial driver will be able to prove himself behind the wheel next year.

Haas F1 team
Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner (left) talks with team members at Albert Park after four members of staff went into isolation over coronavirus fears AFP / GLENN NICHOLLS