Mazepin to make Mercedes test debut this week

2019 Spanish Grand Prix

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Formula 2 driver Nikita Mazepin will have his first official test for Mercedes’ Formula 1 team at the Circuit de Catalunya this week, RaceFans has learned.

The 20-year-old, who finished second in last year’s GP3 championship, has been conducting a private test programme with the world champions. He will drive for Mercedes on Wednesday of this week’s test. Valtteri Bottas will drive tomorrow.

Mazepin previously joined Force India, now Racing Point, as a development driver in 2016, and has tested their cars in the last three seasons.

Teams are required by the rules to give two days of testing to drivers who have competed in fewer than three F1 races. Mazepin fulfils this requirement, while the team’s reserve driver Esteban Ocon does not.

Mazepin’s father Dmitry is a non-executive director at Uralkali, which was one of the bidders for the assets of the Force India team when it went into administration last year. The company launched a legal action against administrators FRP Advisory when rival bidder Lawrence Stroll’s consortium was chosen as the buyer.

After the first six races of the 2019 F2 season Mazepin has scored four points and lies 16th in the championship, fifth among the rookie drivers.

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Nikita Mazepin, Force India, Circuit de Catalunya
Mazepin previously tested for Force India

Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 28 comments on “Mazepin to make Mercedes test debut this week”

    1. I wonder why Ocon is not driving for this in-season test in Barcelona. I understand he is doing a lot of simulator work but wouldn’t it make sense for him to drive at least a half day during this test session ?

      1. I guess because he doesn’t qualify as a rookie for the test (less than 3 GPs).

        1. @hunocsi you are correct in that he does not qualify as a rookie so would not count towards the two required rookie days, but Bottas is driving tomorrow and he won’t either!

          I think @photozen meant why not put Ocon in instead of Bottas.

          1. Exactly, that is what I was attempting to say. Thanks !

          2. Why on earth would they put in a development driver instead of one of their regulars though @minnis, @photozen?

            Provided they are available, i think most teams would prefer putting in a driver who has just driven the whole weekend over a driver who last drove the car here in testing (did Ocon even do testing for them?) or even last year. Only if they would need some feedback for the simulations would it make sense to put in Ocon, but Mercedes clearly doesn’t have issues in that area.

            1. @bascb I can think of multiple reasons. A third driver may add a new outlook which the two main drivers had overlooked. It also keeps the development driver ‘fresh’ in case they need to be drafted in to a race for whatever reason. Then, as you said, to improve the correlation between the sim and the track.

            2. Yeah, but you would actually need reasons to have to do that @minnis.

              For Mercedes clearly the car is working, their analyses and simulation correspond – see how all the bits they bolt on do what they were expecting. And since Ocon has been in the car last year, it will be a while before he would be !un-fresh” in case needed.

            3. @bascb I completely agree with everything you’re saying. However, a multi-championship winning team such as Mercedes won’t stay at the front by doing nothing. After all, you’ve never heard of a driver finishing a race and saying “I wish I hadn’t done FP3, I was a bit too practised!”

            4. But Mercedes is not doing nothing at all. They are testing with Bottas in the car for one day and having Mazepin (because in contrast to Ocon he DOES qualify for the “rooky/new driver” thing) for another.

              The discussion here was why they didn’t put in Ocon instead of Bottas. Something that really would mostly help Ocon, because for Mercedes it is no real difference, or rather a slight advantage to have the race driver do this test day.

    2. DAllein (@)
      13th May 2019, 9:50

      I didn’t know Mercedes needed some questionable-source money.

      Hope they will not be surprised when this “family” sues, because they were believing Nikita is about to replace Valtteri.

    3. A quick update – Mercedes confirmed to us he will run on the Wednesday so the article has been amended accordingly.

    4. Is he really Mercedes material? They don’t need the cash, and he’s only 20, but I haven’t seen anything particularly impressive thus far, there’s definitely people with better records who fit the criteria.

      1. He is definitely NOT.
        From the article I understand “private test programme” means he is “allowed to drive their car for an undisclosed millions of Euro”. But this doesn’t make him their driver.

        Or at least that’s what Mercedes believes, until this family brings in lawyers.

        1. Basil (@flyingbasil)
          13th May 2019, 11:26

          @dallein and why is he not? He finished second in GP3 last year with more wins and fastest laps than anybody else. And the guy who won was spending a second year there. Yes his record so far in F2 is not good, but so is Mick Schumacher who already drove a Ferrari for a test.

          1. Because sometimes people have enough talent, but most of the time they do not. He doesn’t have.
            Mick Schumacher is not good either… and probably doesn’t have enough talent either.

        2. “Private test programme” sounds like the sort of thing Williams did for Lance Stroll throughout 2016 ahead of his debut with the team in 2017.

    5. I guess there’s place for only one billionaire’s son at Force India. I’m surprised Mercedes is running him though.. surely there are better options for a rookie test driver.

      1. Basil (@flyingbasil)
        13th May 2019, 11:29

        @todfod like who exactly?

        1. De Vries, Ghiotto, Hubert, Bird, Frijns, Rowland, etc.

    6. So even Mercedes is looking for some extra cash? And even then this is their best option? It seriously looks like they just rented a car to the biggest bidder. Hmm…

      1. Who knows, it could even be a favour to Stroll to help Stroll/RP deal with the Mazepin claims against that team @zimkazimka!

    7. Perhaps they are thinking of keeping him around as a body guard…looks like he’s qualified for that.

      1. LOL
        I was thinking in the line of “Bouncer”))
        But probably Bodyguard also fits…

        Protecting Soviet Union and Tsar Putin from evil western Capitalists!

        (though for proper image he needs a red car… with a hammer and sickle)

    8. Basil (@flyingbasil)
      13th May 2019, 11:29

      I dont really get where all the hate is coming from? He was second last year with more wins and fastest laps than his rivals. He lost only to a guy who had a season more of expirience in GP3. He is not doing great at F2 at the moment but so is Mick Schumacher who ALREADY drove an F1 Ferrari car for a test.

      1. F1 fans are emotional creatures. Many lack the ability to be rational.

    9. What’s the point in keeping Ocon as a reserve driver if he isn’t going to get any running opportunities at all? He didn’t get to drive on either of the two days post-Bahrain GP, and the same now with the equivalent post-GP test of the Spanish GP.

      1. Great question.

    10. So even team Mercedes runs pay drivers now. Maybe thejudge13 article about force India being Mercedes b team is true. He and Schumacher Jr are very overrated in f2 so far this year.

    Comments are closed.