Nikita Mazepin, Haas, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Extreme set-up changes leave Mazepin feeling “lost”

2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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Haas driver Nikita Mazepin said he felt “lost” after the team tried some radical set-up changes during practice in an attempt to unlock more performance from their car.

The team have been consistently slowest throughout the season so far. Mazepin said they are using Friday practice sessions to experiment with “rather extreme” changes to their car. However he admitted the car responded to some of the changes in ways which surprised him.

“With this car, I would say it’s probably one of the most difficult aero packages I’ve ever driven,” said Mazepin.

“The issue with the set-ups is that they don’t really make sense to what feedback they give. Therefore, I’m quite lost in that respect because coming from junior formulas, more aero balance means more oversteer. But in F1 it definitely doesn’t mean that.”

Mazepin said he intends to work on his communication with his engineers. “I’ve always gone with the approach that a driver does his job and the engineers do theirs, but at the moment, I think we speak a bit of a different language.

Guanyu Zhou, Alpine, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Gallery: 2021 Austrian Grand Prix practice in pictures
“I’m going to study, without joking, quite a few details of that to understand how I can also advise the team on making the car better, because I think the way it’s working now is not very promising.”

During second practice Mazepin was told the target for a fast lap time was 1’05.6. He ended the session with a 1’06.1, two-tenths of a second slower than the other Haas of Mick Schumacher.

His team mate was more upbeat about the team’s chances. “I think we’re a bit faster compared to last week”, said Schumacher. “That’s also because everybody just knows where to put the car.

“But it was interesting, especially the long runs, because it’s going to be the weather probably [we] will find in the race. So we collected good data and now it’s about time to analyse and try to figure out what we can do better for the race.”

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2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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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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11 comments on “Extreme set-up changes leave Mazepin feeling “lost””

  1. I hate to continue the Nikita-bashing, but surely he is better off listening to them. He’s getting better, the rate he’s going at by the end of the season he’ll be closing on Mick in terms of lap time. That’s surely the best anyone can hope for.

    1. I don’t dislike Mazepin, He is making a lot of sense. On the lap time at one point Mick was 9th but the lap was deleted for track limits, the gap between both drivers was not representative.

  2. Nikky – sweetheart – you are there because you give them money.
    If they had a half decent car you would be washing the drivers underpants.

    1. Formula E is Aitana for you Mazepin!

  3. Guess he is used to the computer game “wrong direction” plastered on his screen. Feeling lost, on a track..

  4. Carlos Furtado das Neves
    2nd July 2021, 23:22

    He’ll always be lost…

    Reply moderated
  5. Shame Haas became a shadow of itself. I was expecting the era of the no-hope team was finally over, but here we are. Maybe the new ’22 regs can sort it out once and for all because it’s not F1 to have teams so far behind. Even if you don’t like Russian Mazepin, you surely don’t want to see a Schumacher in this way.

    1. Most of us don’t because we won’t forget his bad things. Few of us don’t by saying he’s a slow pay-driver.

  6. It seems Nikita might benefit from the training programme Yuki Tsunoda’s currently on, with (among other things) its “how to speak engineer” classes. I wonder if his university has such a course, or could arrange one.

  7. Geez, estemed young professional racing driver… Does not know much about car setup. I guess he should spend some time studying with the engineers, to get what he needs from the team.

    All this tells me Mick is not really any good, being only slightly faster than this clown.

    Even Lewis Hamilton spent some time in the simulator to iron out their setup.

    Meanwhile Lance is on par with Seb Vettel.

    Really Haas drivers will be happy to progress anywhere from the bottom.

  8. Even if he can’t translate his thoughts into “Engineer speak”, Wouldn’t telemetry tell them what the car is doing? Understeer and oversteer are basic. Aero is tougher to sort due to the exponential effects but, seriously. He is lost because he hasn’t a clue what he’s doing. “aero balance means more oversteer”??? I rest my case…

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