Official: Nikita Mazepin to join F1 grid with Haas in 2021

2021 F1 season

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Haas has announced the first of the two drivers which will replace its current line-up of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen in the 2021 F1 season.

Formula 2 driver Nikita Mazepin will graduate to Formula 1 with the team next season in a “multi-year” deal.

The 21-year-old lies third in the F2 standings and has an outside chance of beating Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott to the championship in this weekend’s final round.

Mazepin arrived in F2 after finishing runner-up in GP3 (now F3) with ART in 2018. He has taken two wins so far this season and lost a third at Spa due to a post-race penalty.

He has already tested F1 machinery on several occasions with Force India (now Racing Point) and Mercedes.

Mazepin said the confirmation of his F1 debut is “a lifelong dream come true.”

“I really appreciate the trust being put in me by Gene Haas, Guenther Steiner, and the whole of the team. They’re giving a young driver an opportunity and I thank them for that.”

Mazepin’s “strong sophomore season” in F2 this year “underlined his credentials”, said Steiner.

Drivers, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
2021 F1 drivers and teams
“He’s developed into a mature racer moving up through the junior ranks – notably most recently in the GP3 Series, where he finished runner-up in 2018, and obviously in Formula 2 over the past two seasons. I’m excited to see what Nikita can achieve in Formula 1 and we look forward to giving him the opportunity to compete at the highest level of world motorsport.”

His father Dmitry Mazepin, who runs Russian chemical firm Uralkali and is has a reputed wealth of several billion dollars, tried to buy Force India when the team ran into financial trouble in 2018. He is currently involved in legal action against the administrators who handled to sale to rival Lawrence Stroll, father of Lance Stroll, who drives for the team, now known as Racing Point.

Haas announced in October it will field an all-new driver line-up in 2021. Mazepin’s team mate has not yet been confirmed but Mick Schumacher, who leads the F2 standings and is backed by Haas’s engine supplier Ferrari, is favourite to take the seat. His rival and fellow Ferrari Driver Academy member Ilott confirmed yesterday he will not make his Formula 1 debut next year.

Yesterday Haas confirmed its reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi will stand in for Grosjean in this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix. Grosjean is recovering from the burns he sustained in a fiery crash at the start of Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

View the current list of 2021 F1 drivers and teams

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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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38 comments on “Official: Nikita Mazepin to join F1 grid with Haas in 2021”

  1. I never thought I’d rue the day when Haas would drop Magnussen. But this has done it. I can’t believe this guy will be racing in F1 ahead of so many more talented racers such as Illot (especially) and Shwartzman, who deserved a seat at Haas more so than Mazepin.

    1. I should clarify, I don’t think he’s terrible. I just don’t think he’s done enough for a shot at an F1 seat.

      1. I never thought i would read such nonsens…
        Yes you should clarify. Surely your not seeing the same F1 I’m seeing…

        Done enough. He has been at the podium in F1, that’s even more than some. I love his drive style, aggressive and to the point. I’m on the other hand convinced if he had better material aaand sometimes crew. Who can let the bolts stay on the car. What it could have been…
        But don’t be surprised if he drives in 22

    2. Shady business, sportswashing! Are we supposed to applause? HAAS and that energy drink was weird, this deplorable morale…

  2. The best of Russia and America combined together! :-)

    1. I do find it strange that the “American” team would choose to give the seat to the son of a Russian oligarch…

      Obviously, Haas is barely American – perhaps this is the first step towards a Russian takeover?

      1. It kinda reflects quite accurately the state of the world, though.

      2. Funnily enough they still can sign Shwartzman to have two Russian drivers. I would happily take it, to see Shwartzman in F1, but probably the reception would be mixed for this driver lineup.

        I’m on the same opinion as Mashiat, Mazepin showed something at least, and likely will not be amongst the poorest pay drivers ever. But he had incidents, and problems with behavior, and there are quite a lot of skill-wise comparable drivers outside of F1, so I’m not happy with it.

        Now as we have quite a lot of maiden race winners in F2, only time will tell how good the class of this year is. They are quite good, many newcomers and sophomores have beaten the seasoned regulars, but F1 is different, and many development series are softer than other series having less young participants. See how hard DTM or Formula E is, even many former F1 drivers had only mixed result there. Or see how Kubica excelled in WRC2 after his injury and had a much harder time in WRC results-wise. I’m on this opinon, despite of I think today’s rookies are much more prepared than before, and as today’s F1 cars are the most consistent and sophisticated ones ever, the rookie days are likely a bit easier for them now than previously, and the learning curve is likely flatter, and the individual skill ceiling is likely lower then before due to the sophisticated technology what is present everywhere in F1.

      3. Wait, is that American team owned by an American citizen, or is it “American team” because it’s owned by the government or one of the parties? Even if it an official government-owned USA national racing team or whatever, the same government sends its astronauts to space in Russian ships and accepts Russian crew on its own ships. Perhaps F1 is more important for making a political statement (about good guys and bad guys, cowboys and Indians and what not?)? I just wish they’d have chosen a more talented driver, but Russian money IS as good as any money (and in this case Russian daddy is richer than the American owner, so there’s that).

      4. He’s not an oligarch for every definition of “oligarch” that makes sense. He’s a businessman.

    2. The best of Russia and America combined together! :-)

      I’d say the best example of that is still in the White House :P

  3. I think 2021 HAAS will end up the same poor performance as 2020

  4. Mazepin all elbows and fists out. Prepare for the fight

    1. It is tough to find anyone with wider shoulders than Perez.
      Many love Perez driving style. I too would love to see him driving RB next year.

  5. Unsurprising.

  6. Jose Lopes da Silva
    1st December 2020, 8:53

    It’s a special touch of hideousness to have Mazepin confirmed before Schumacher and without him.

    1. The guy is focused on his championship title- it would bring ridiculous amount of media pressure on him on the final weekend. They don’t make these decisions willy nilly.

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        1st December 2020, 16:00

        …yeah. you’re right. Still…

  7. Illot is unlucky he doesn’t have enough connections in this extremely empowering, equality-driven, rainbow spewing sport.

    1. doesn’t have enough connections in this extremely empowering, equality-driven, rainbow spewing sport

      Ahm, @pironitheprovocateur, my guess is that you are trying to make good on your name there?

      I am certain young Russian Mazepin has the right connections – the money his father puts in the team accounts. But I seriously doubt he has any connections, feelings or wishes to touch that empowering, nor is he about equality and rainbows would probably get him locked up at home.

    2. @pironitheprovocateur I really don’t think Ilott is any better than Mazepin. He has been flattered by an absurd amount of good luck this year, handed 4 poles by well-timed yellow flags in qualifying. If you look at their careers they’re pretty even – and in their rookie years in F3/GP3 they were teammates, and Mazepin came out on top.

    3. Mazepin is actually a better driver than Ilott. He was ahead of Ilott in F3 and is just 30 points behind him in F2 in a rookie team’s car — compared to UNI-Virtuosi which was winning titles in the times when it was called, ironically, Russian Time.

  8. Good to see an Elder Scrolls IV character being given a chance.

  9. With Kvyat being likely out of Alpha Tauri next season, I wonder if F1 needs to have a Russian driver to keep the Russian GP promoters happy ?

    1. No, as long as they’re not winning races, it’s of no help to the Russian GP promotion.

  10. This signing proves that HAAS have no real desire to win. Pay driver stratagy is exactly what Williams chose after Bottas left…..only now they have Russel can you see any glimmer of improvement. Your car will only ever be as good as your best driver…….Would Mercedes have won both championships by now with two Bottas’s – I hope they choose better for the second seat…..

    1. Yeah he’s just keeping the bills paid. I don’t know why an F1 team, especially an American F1 team, would want to be funded indirectly by Vladimir Putin. That’s bad PR for the team and for their sponsors. I’ve really wanted to like Haas but they make it so hard.

      1. Dmitry Mazepin is the owner of multiple large chemicals production companies. There’s no Putin in there. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

  11. So Haas gets Schumacher and Mazepin for two years: Schumacher to bring in points and Mazepin to bring in money.
    Ferrari gets Sainz for two years, and after that they can choose to continue with Sainz or take Schumacher from Haas.

    1. Not sure about that. I mean, Mazepin has comportemental issues, but I think he probably isn’t far off Schumacher, indeed probably close enough that he might adapt better to F1… I truly hope they have a better car next year, because to me, driverwise, this has the potential to probably be a massive downgrade

  12. Not the most likeable of characters, but not a bad driver at all. He has been extremely quick at times this year. The way some people on here have been talking you’d think he was up there with the worst pay-drivers from the 90s, it’s a bit ridiculous.

  13. Enjoy Australia 2021 you w**kers.

  14. I don’t think he’s done enough for an F1 shot. He’s alright, pretty decent but there are other options that are far stronger – both in rookies and experienced drivers. Ilott especially has been overall more impressive than Mazepin – though money clearly talks louder than talent here.

    1. @rocketpanda I do wonder why Ilott is so highly rated – remember, him and Mazepin were team-mates in both of their first F3 seasons in 2018 – who came out on top? Mazepin. Last year they were both pretty underwhelming in F2 but both are doing well now. I don’t think there’s much between them at all.

      1. British press talks a lot about Ilott while Mazepin is mostly overshadowed and portrayed as a pay driver. I believe this is the reason.

  15. A sign of the times unfortunately.

  16. I don’t think Mazepin is going to disappoint. I am excited for 2021. Hamilton, Alonso, Ricciardo, Verstappen fireworks.
    Get better soon Romain, you scared the s%@t out of everybody.

  17. ugh. Well you tied Haas, and well you got 50% of it correct. Talent can be more beneficial than money, but even with getting paid for taking a driver, they need talent to drive a car in a better way than as if they were driving a rental.

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