Nikita Mazepin, Haas, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Mazepin “pretty certain” heavier car cost him time to team mate Schumacher

2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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Haas’s Nikita Mazepin is “pretty certain” having a heavier car than team mate Mick Schumacher has cost him on-track during his rookie Formula 1 season.

After last weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix, Mazepin made comments about the weight of his car potentially being a factor in his performances across the first eight rounds of the season as Schumacher has started and finished ahead every weekend bar the Monaco Grand Prix.

Mazepin was lapped three times in the most recent race at the Red Bull Ring, where F1 returns to this weekend, while Schumacher was only lapped twice.

There have been criticisms of his performance compared to Schumacher, but Mazepin thinks a heavier car has been a contributing factor.

“I think the common perspective that you get on a pit wall is probably very different to what you feel driving the car for 73 laps,” he said.

“So I think that everyone is entitled to think, and they could be right, but I’m pretty certain that it does have quite a big impact because it offsets the weight distribution and then that offsets the set-up that you put in the car. So there are quite a few factors if you go into it from a mechanical perspective.

“However, I would say in the grand scheme of things, it’s not unacceptable. It’s just making my life a bit more challenging.

“But I have a very good team of engineers who are helping me in my rookie year to understand it and get to work with it better.”

The upcoming Austrian Grand Prix will mark the first time in Mazepin’s F1 career that he will race on a circuit he already has experience of, which he’s encouraged by.

“I think it’s useful. You do get to know the track very well by doing a race weekend. And I think I’ve never started an FP1 as prepared as I’m doing now.”

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...
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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29 comments on “Mazepin “pretty certain” heavier car cost him time to team mate Schumacher”

  1. If his car really heavier then he was right.

    1. From what i just read on another site, the difference is 4kg. I also read there that Steiner said he will get the new, lighter, chassis after the summer break. Whom to believe i don’t know)

      1. So how much would 4kg matter, per lap @ruliemaulanna, @njoydesign?

        Sure, it will make some difference, but given 100 kg is several seconds (say 5s), then 1 lap diff would be about 0,02s; sure, nowadays in quali that might well be significant. But then in the race, how does one end up a lap behind inside of 50 laps on a 1:05s lap from that? Just because of those 4kg, given it won’t have significant influence on tyre wear, compared to the fuel load seems unlikely, and until one is lapped, blue flags cannot be enough difference either.

        1. sorry for the typo in your name @ruliemaulana; computer/browser/internet having some lag lately

          1. Hm, wait, did I get that correct – 5/100 -> 0,05/kg -> 0,2s for four kilo that is clearly a potential factor in quali; Still, 50 laps would give 10s, so that’s not explaining a full lap.

        2. 4 kilos would be something between 1 and 1.5 tenth.

        3. From what mazepin says, its more about flexibility of ballast distribution rather than the weight itself. 4kg in my view is not that big of a difference, anyway.

          I think he needs to work on his skills of being lapped and stamina first, this are IMO his biggest issues. He got so bullied about it he now literally stops to let the leaders pass, losing all tyre temperature and pace. You can see in the graphs how he more or less stays with mick in the first half of a race, and then drops like a brick in the second.

          And just to leave this here – he has won more races in 2020 F2 season than mick.

        4. @bosyber I remember Rosberg slimming his leg just to get rid of 0.5kg extra. So, 4kg should be considered huge.

          1. Well, I consider that as much placebo, ie. making sure he felt/knew he was doing everything and more that he could do to take the championship that year, than that it actually made a huge time difference by just the weight savings alone @ruliemaulane; but, again, sure it is a bit, but I doubt it is what’s keeping him so far behind his teammate at most races so far; see also what @njoydesign says, which makes a lot of sense.

    2. Neil Debacquer
      1st July 2021, 13:34

      I doubt his car loses more than 1 or 2 tenths compared to Schumacher. He is on average like 5 tenths off in quali.

  2. Only twice, LOL. The word ‘only’ would be more fitting had Mick got lapped once by the eventual race winner.
    More importantly, how specifically, in any given team, could one driver have a heavier car than the other? I don’t quite get this.

    1. I don’t get this either, the chassis are presumably the ones left over from last year, how did one end up 4kg heavier than the other?

      1. Perhaps repairs.

        1. LOL, then it might have gained a bit of weight over the last half a year indeed!

        2. I know you’re joking, but that isn’t as ridiculous as it might sound! There is presumably a lot of strengthening and straightening that goes on. And he’s bashed it quite a few times. Pure speculation of course, I suspect it’s that Mick has newer spec chassis, but still it’d be interesting to learn what goes into repairing a chassis once the rear end has been ripped off it.

          1. I have some, slightly unwanted, experience with repairs of composite structures, and it makes sense to me.

            I fly a composite material sailplane. It has had two major repairs to the rear fuselage (*), and even though the repairs are completely invisible, it has changed the weight distribution enough to be felt. While the center of gravity is still perfectly within limits, I can feel the change while flying in thermals (it has actually gotten better – prior to the last repair, increasing middle age of the pilot had led to a slow year-by-year creep forward of the total in-flight CofG, but let’s not get into that…).

            (*) honour requires that I explain that neither was due to bad piloting: the first was after someone backed a tractor into it on the airfield, the second after the tow plane suffered a partial engine failure and unceremoniusly dropped me from tow over a field with high crops.

  3. Americans use duct tape for repairs and that adds up over time.

    4kg not only slows the car but it is additional weight that must be controlled in the corners and carried by the tyres. It could cost an extra lap over 70+ laps. The lap times are 1:15 minutes which is 75 seconds. So the weight might cost 1 second per lap.

    1. 4kg does not cost any where near 1s a lap.

      As others have mentioned above, the weight is a tenth or two at most. The cars carry 100kg of fuel at the start of a race, and tend to lap about 7s slower than they did in qualifying, and that is comparing a push lap to tyre management.

    2. someone or something
      1st July 2021, 16:43


      Americans use duct tape for repairs

      The entire world does that.

    3. I don’t think that’s the case @jimfromus. 4kg of duct tape is about 2743.2 meter long.

  4. For everyone saying 4kg costs x amount per lap – there’s other factors at play other than pure weight. There’s weight distribution for a start, which in turn affects balance which influences setup and therefore tyre usage and so in and so on. It’s not as simple as saying 4kg makes little to no difference. Mazepin may be rubbish, but he may not be quite as rubbish as we think!

    1. It’s all good and well to talk about weight distribution, but front and rear weights are mandated by regulation:

      4.1 Minimum weight: The weight of the car, without fuel, must not be less than 752kg at all times during the Event.If, when required for checking, a car is not already fitted with dry-weather tyres, it will be weighed on a set of dry-weather tyres selected by the FIA technical delegate.

      4.2 Weight distribution: The weight applied on the front and rear wheels must not be less than the weight specified in Article 4.1 factored by 0.455 and 0.535 respectively at all times during the qualifying practice session. Rounding will be to nearest 0.5kg.

    2. someone or something
      1st July 2021, 16:49

      That argument cuts both ways.
      It’s true that all those factors add up to a measurable deficit – however, even the most pessimistic estimate is smaller than the observed gaps by an order of magnitude. You could probably make them switch cars without noticing a difference.
      If they were more closely matched, that might be different.

  5. Gary Robertson
    1st July 2021, 16:06

    F1 cars are built to be around 20kg under weight to allow ballast to be added to balance out the center of gravity and handling requirements dependent on the track. Also what is the weight differs between MSC and NM? This probably voids/balances everything out.

  6. The much maligned Mazepin was not one of the worst in F2. He was one of the meritorious ones.

    So surely there must be something wrong with his setup. Whose car did he inherit? Magnussen’s or Grosjean’s?

    Too bad he hasn’t stated how much heavier his car is, compared to MSC.

  7. Haas really shouldn’t be racing this year. They are not there to compete and instead are just making up the numbers, exactly what F1 should not have at all.

    1. I have to disagree @skipgamer, Haas is the only one for a long time outside the establishment to put real money into the sport (well, until he didn’t).
      Sure, they went about it the wrong way and are now stuck with their Dallara built 2018 Ferrari copy for the third year but I think their operation is still very much the needed Minardi of the 2020s. A platform for teaching and development.
      They just thought they were actually a racing team for the first few years

    2. Lopes da Silva
      1st July 2021, 19:41

      I respectfully disagree. I think F1 should have 5 or 6 teams to make up numbers and allow drivers to compete at the highest stage instead of ending up elsewhere. The Premier League has lots of teams that are there to make up numbers, not to fight for the title.

  8. This article has been updated – it was originally thought he’d have a new chassis this weekend but team principal Guenther Steiner has confirmed that won’t happen until Spa.

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