Mazepin struggling more than Schumacher with car – Steiner

2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says Nikita Mazepin is struggling with their car more than his fellow rookie Mick Schumacher as he is unhappy with its rear-end stability.

Since Mazepin crashed out of the first lap of the opening round, Schumacher has comfortably finished ahead of his team mate in the two races since. Mazepin has also had several spins in practice, including one yesterday soon after the first session began.

Steiner said the team “just need to try to get him a better balance” with his VF-21 chassis, which he admits has “deficiencies”.

“The car is very unstable in turn-in,” Steiner explained, “and I guess Mick maybe can manage that one better and Nikita struggles a little bit more, because he wants the rear end, just to be confident that it sticks.

“So it’s one of the things where we need to try to get Nikita into a better spot, that he feels more confident. Because if he has no confidence in his cars, it’s very difficult to drive then, because the speeds you are going, it is not easy, so that is what [we] are trying to do.”

Mazepin said he has learned a lot from the running he has been able to do so far this year and has made progress.

“Being rookies, I guess you improve so much every weekend that you’re going to continue improving the same amount, if not more, from round three until round 23,” he said. “Every driver is finding his routes with the wind and the conditions changing all the time and I’m no different.”

Gusting winds at the Autodromo do Algarve last weekend made it harder to get a read on what the car was doing, Mazepin said.

“The conditions in Friday and Saturday kept changing for us and it was very difficult to really put a nail on what’s happening with the car and the set-up and exactly what I like and what I don’t.

“Friday was a very difficult day for me. Then Saturday I took a step forward in the set-up and in the understanding of the team, how they see the car should be performing at its finest. And then Sunday it was a very long, lonely race as well.

“But it was great to get those laps in because the conditions kept changing and the tyres’ temperatures kept varying. And I think I learnt a lot about how to manage the tires over a long stint.”

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2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...
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...

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14 comments on “Mazepin struggling more than Schumacher with car – Steiner”

  1. Thanks Gunther. We had not noticed.

    1. Haha, beat me to it.
      Although I was going to go with “no s#!€ Sherlock”

    2. Yeah I know right. Very poor headline.

  2. The ‘long and lonely’ race quote though, makes me think, it must be an odd experience for a race driver, when after the first few corners the pack just moves away from you incrementally, until you’re just all alone knowing it will be twenty minutes or so until they come round to lap you and you see another car again.

    Those twenty minutes in an F1 car must be strange, I guess it’s better if there’s nobody in the crowd and you know you’re not being picked up on TV. But I can see it being lonely, and easy to lose concentration (though actually this seems to be when he doesn’t spin).

    1. From my point of view that is the best “school” that mazepin can have. His dad has bought him a seat in every racing class he has raced. In some races he really has been really fast but he has also been involved in accidents. Driving dead last in F1 puts him and his dad in a new perspective. Yes you can buy a F1 team but you can’t buy wins or championships.

      1. Was going to counter that by you could buy mercedes, but about half the current field wouldn’t be able to regularly content for victory and certainly not mazepin, just look at bottas, he’s not a bad f1 driver.

  3. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    8th May 2021, 9:34

    He might be the worst driver in f1 history. I’ve never seen a driver show absolutely nothing but constant mistakes and have so many issues with other drivers despite being the slowest driver.

    1. You’ve not been following F1 for very long, have you?

    2. You must be new to F1.

    3. Pedro Andrade
      8th May 2021, 9:47

      From Wikipédia:

      During qualifying for his first round of the year, in Portugal, Delétraz was hindered by a gearbox problem which saw him qualify last, twelve seconds behind pole-position sitter David Coulthard. In the race, Delétraz was 40 seconds behind Coulthard after 3 laps, and was lapping the circuit 12 seconds slower than the leaders and 6–7 seconds than the next slowest driver Roberto Moreno in a Forti and 7–8 seconds slower than his team-mate Montermini. He was lapped by the leaders after seven laps of the race, and after fourteen he retired from the race with cramp in his left arm.

      Plenty of other examples as well…

    4. They’re right, let’s not say worst driver ever, but mmmm, stroll has been criticized a lot since his debut, but can we agree mazepin started out a lot worse?

      1. Stroll lacked raw speed (still does to a certain extent), but even in his debut he made few mistakes for a rookie and rarely cussed accidents.

        Reply moderated
  4. Mazepin being in the sport isn’t the worst thing, it highlights that these things take skill to drive. He should be nowhere near an F1 car in reality, but I’m old enough to remember the days when we had many Mazepins on the grid at the same time which we don’t have anymore. Indeed the strength of the driver line up this year really highlights how Mazepin (and Latifi tbh) are a class apart from the rest. A lower class.

    1. +1 agreed.

      Only have to go back five years to Rio Haryanto, a driver of a lesser pedigree that MAZ and LAT. I’d also say (sadly) 2019 Kubica was weaker than 2021 Latifi.

      Reply moderated

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