Nikita Mazepin, Force India, 2017

Mazepin will be first to drive new Force India

2018 F1 season

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Force India has confirmed Nikita Mazepin will be the first to drive its new VJM11 when it appears at the Circuit de Catalunya next week.

He will be the first of four different drivers to sample the new car in the opening four-day test. He will hand over to race driver Esteban Ocon on Tuesday. Sergio Perez will drive the car for the first time on Wednesday and test driver Nicholas Latifi will drive on the final day of the first test.

Perez and Ocon will handle all the driving duties at the second test, doing two days of running each.

Mazepin, 18, joined the team two years ago and has tested for them in the last two seasons. Latifi will be making his debut as a Force India tester. No role has yet been announced for Alfonso Celis, who has tested for the team in the last three seasons.

Force India is the only remaining team yet to announce when it will launch its new car for the 2018 F1 season.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 12 comments on “Mazepin will be first to drive new Force India”

    1. A great way for Williams to scout a future driver.

      1. @hahostolze Give it a rest. Not clever or funny.

    2. Mazepin and Latifi must be bringing a hefty budget with them to be able to justify a full day of testing each at such a critical part of the season. Surely it would be more useful to the team if they only had a half day each and the other day was split between Perez and Ocon?

      1. I think the first day is mostly shake down stuff and doing fixed speed runs @geemac to verify stuff.

        But yeah, we can be certain that the team is in need of the cash to pay for all the parts, otherwise we would most likely see the regular drivers doing the testing.

    3. I can’t help but feel a bit nervous for Force India this year. This isn’t a promising sounding start.

      1. I don’t think it can get any worse than last year, and I read somewhere Andy green suggesting that this time they have gone conservative with their designs due to hallow integration.

    4. That’s a pity. Giving the first run to a driver that never produced a performance worth noticing. Probably heavy backing involved.

    5. Ker-ching! Fair enough, he’ll do the donkey work, box-ticking, running out of fuel tests, go round with some daft-looking snorkels and scaffolding on, and leave the performance stuff to the proper drivers.

      1. Yep, shakedown duties

    6. Still, after several years, cant get over the fact that in F1 we have a driver called Niki Temazepam :)

    7. Hmm…i wonder what would the comments be about if the driver wasbt russian? Say another french or italian guy. Or better still, British.
      Oh, i know, “good job force india on brining new talent”.

      Cmon people, grow up.

      1. The comments would be the same for any driver with such a dismal (borderline embarrassing) racing record.

        No one cares where he’s from.

    Comments are closed.