Nikita Mazepin, Haas, Imola, 2021

Mazepin needs to learn our car isn’t as good as the Mercedes – Steiner

2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner suspects Nikita Mazepin’s private test sessions with Mercedes have contributed to his difficulties with their car.

Mazepin crashed out of his first race on lap one in Bahrain, had several other spins during the weekend, and spun twice during the first practice session at Imola today. His last error left the car in the barriers, though Steiner is confident it will be repaired in time for the next session.

“On the last corner, he got into the gravel and spun out,” Steiner explained. “But I think the car is not damaged too badly, so we will be ready for second practice.”

Mazepin had a series of private tests with Mercedes prior to his debut this year, in addition to a public outing for them in 2019. He has declined to disclose how many times he drove the world champions’ car last year.

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However Steiner suspects the Formula 2 graduate’s expectations of their car has been shaped by his time at the wheel of the machine which has dominated recent seasons.

Spin ended Mazepin’s first practice run
“Him driving the Mercedes last year, I think he learned something, but he has to learn our car is not as good as a Mercedes,” said Steiner.

“I’m very open about that. I’m not trying to hide that for sure the Mercedes is a little bit less temperamental than our car.”

Mazepin’s spins “need to be reduced”, Steiner emphasised. “But he’s trying very hard and I guess he’s trying something a little bit too hard.

“He needs to find that limit but that’s [for] him to find, not us. That’s for him to find. We can help him doing that, but it’s one of the things as I said before, learning is painful. It comes with pain and at some stage it will hopefully stop and he will be in a good place.”

Haas have hired two new drivers for the 2021 season. Mazepin’s team mate Mick Schumacher also spun during last week’s race, but reached the finish.

“We have got the whole year to learn,” said Steiner. “Hopefully we haven’t got the year to spin. But that is what we are trying to do this year.”

Steiner told Mazepin to “keep your head high” following his tough debut in Bahrain. Criticism of his performance on the track has risen in addition to concerns over his behaviour away from the track, which arose at the end of last year.

“In the moment he is the beat-up boy,” said Steiner. “Everybody beats up on him. But that makes you tougher. In the end you come out on the better side.

“You just need to keep your head up, focus on your next race and keep on going. That’s what he did, he was here today, yesterday he was in a good place and today he is in a good place at the debrief.

“Even if he spun out, because he is improving and he’s learning. So that’s what he has to do, that’s the only thing you can do in this situation is just keep on going, knowing that the things went wrong but you know that you can do better.”

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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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26 comments on “Mazepin needs to learn our car isn’t as good as the Mercedes – Steiner”

  1. Has he made it through a single session without spinning or going off?

    1. @hollidog Not yet, he still has his 100% every session record.

      1. Lol he’s just gone off again!

      2. He spun the Mercedes during his 2019 test also, good as that car was…

    2. Nikita – “más un spin” new hit track for this summer.
      Now seriously, it is evident he is trying really hard, he is quick to get down to a certain lap time.

  2. Alternative title: Steiner needs to learn his driver isn’t as good as Mercedes’ .
    Spoiler alert: Maybe he already knows.

  3. “In the moment he is the beat-up boy,” said Steiner. “Everybody beats up on him.

    Aww poor baby. If only people stopped holding him responsible for his own spins, so unfair. Sad.

  4. Jonathan Parkin
    16th April 2021, 13:37

    Thing is though you can learn and improve without spinning or crashing, although for a rookie a certain level of mistakes is allowed. But not too many

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      16th April 2021, 16:09

      The thing is, Verstappen as a non-rookie had absolutely loads of crashes at the start of 2018. Not a single race in the first 6 was contact/crash/spin free. Was he allowed to do that?

      He seemed to do that and learn, so in a way, if that was ok for him, a rookie maybe should get away with even more mistakes if they learn from them.

  5. In addition to his public test with the world champions, he also participated in an undisclosed number of private tests with them.
    Asked last week how many times he’d driven a Mercedes F1 car, Mazepin said: “I would love to answer that question but unfortunately I’m not able to expand on it because of contractual reasons.”

    How is it possible there were private tests with a 2019 car by Mazepin/Mercedes?
    I always thought it was not allowed to use last years car. Only at least two year old models.

    1. It wasnt a 2019 Mercedes. He tested a mercedes in 2019 and pre season this year.

  6. The spins contribute to Mazepin getting a lot of hate, but he came in with a poor reputation. Punching drivers, trying to actively force them offtrack or into walls. That’s awful. Groping women. That’s awful. Spinning? That’s embarassing.

    He is poorly suited for F1 due to his behaviour, not due to his driving standards.

  7. I’m no fan of massivespin but I will say that if he does have experience driving the merc maybe Haas could learn a thing or two about how they can make their handling better from him. I guess that depends on how good he is at development feedback, he doesn’t strike me as the type to have the patience to provide that type of analysis to the team’s engineers.

    1. Silk purse – sow’s ear. Some very, very experienced drivers had trouble taming the beast in the last few years and the team couldn’t do much for them with no development budget and (in the scheme of things) limited track support. MZP and MSC are under no pressure from Haas, just need to learn how to keep it on the track and finish.

  8. I’m looking forward to the end of season spin compilation video, or the Mazepin’s Spins, Ranked video

  9. Someone told Mazepin that he was a top driver, and he has taken it literally.

    1. A Spinning top driver ;-)

  10. A comment somewhere described him having “the grace of a Russian ballet dancer”
    Mazespin lives up to his name

  11. I think he read If you want to win hire a finn wrongly If you want to win do a spin :)

  12. If this carries on, when do the team say “enough is enough”. They’re saving resources for next season, the rate Mazepin is going through cars, they’ll use all their resources on repairs.

    When would the FIA intervene? I think we’re lucky that haas is so uncompetitive and doesn’t normally find itself near any other cars

  13. Steiner needs to learn Mazepin isn’t good. Fixed the headline for you.

  14. I start to feel sorry for this boy, at home at dinner time we are making bets on how many races he will finish this year, …I said 4

  15. Found to Imola I can’t but think about Nikita « Yuji Ide » Mazepin.

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