Nikita Mazepin Singing a Song Sung Blue About His Current Lot With Haas F1 Team
Nikita Mazepin sounds like a driver who thinks the Formula 1 world, maybe even his own team, is out to get him.
The first-year driver’s latest claim is that his Haas F1 car is actually heavier than that of his teammate and fellow rookie Mick Schumacher. Mazepin feels that somehow the deck is stacked against him at Haas.
Schumacher, by the way, has beaten Mazepin in seven of eight races this season. Neither have finished better than 13th.
“I think I did a very good opening lap, I was happy with the positioning, I prepared that very well to know where potentially there could be a bunch of cars, and how to get past them,” said Mazepin after last week’s race in Austria. “But when you have a lot of laps, and long straights, and you have a very heavy car compared to the other car in our team it’s very difficult to stay ahead, so I’m not happy.
“But I’m just waiting for a new one to really have a chance because at the moment I’m just a sitting duck and I do my very best at the beginning and then I’m just a carrot to be caught and unfortunately I was caught, so that’s what it is.”
Haas F1 principal Guenther Steiner confirmed that Mazepin has been racing with a heavier car than his teammate. Steiner told European media outlet The Race that the weight difference “slows him down, but it’s not by a lot. I don’t want to go into the specific weight difference, it’s not very (big).”
That’s not the way Mazepin sees things.
“The comment perspective you get from the pit wall is probably very different to if you were driving the car for 73 laps,” Mazepin said during a media video conference on Thursday from the site of this weekend’s F1 Austrian Grand Prix. “So I think everyone it entitled to think and they could be right, but I’m pretty certain that it does have quite a big impact because it offsets weight distribution and that offsets the setup that you put in the car.
“There are quite a few factors if you go into it from a mechanical perspective. However, I would say on the grand scheme of the 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 with my rookie to understand how to get it work better.”
Mazepin has yet to score a point in his brief F1 career. His best finish has been 14th in Azerbaijan. He’s finished 19th or 20th in four of the eight races, which has led him to seeing plenty of blue—blue flags being waved by officials directing him to let faster cars pass, that is.
“I really liked our blue color before this F1 season,” Mazepin said. “I’m wearing blue (Haas team colors) almost every day of my life, as you can see. But in the race, if you just get caught by one car and you slow down and you go in the marbles and then you try and restart at a certain pace—which is most of the time and you get caught again—you kind of fall into this very awful place.
“The worst thing is when an engineer tells you that there’s five cars within 2 seconds of each other—all (will bring out) blues, and you need to slow down. That’s what happened last weekend. But it is the story this year for me, unfortunately. And I think with a slight increase of pace we could a lot of total race time because we would have less blues, but it didn’t’ work last week. Sometimes races are the way they are.”
Mazepin’s song sung blue includes a unique personal F1 record this season.
“My personal record is 35 blue flags at Monaco, which is almost double of the grid of everybody who starts,” he said. “It’s definitely a challenge to lose as little time as possible on (a blue flag), but I think with the amount of practice that we’ve been getting this year I’m probably going to get good at it very soon.”
And, yes, he’s still called Maze-Spin by some on social media for his early season spins.
“Just imagine if I didn’t spin a few times in Bahrain, the Maze-Spin wouldn’t be born,” he said. “I think the amount of people that probably received a smile on their face is quite a big amount, and I wouldn’t want those people to have a miserable day.”
‘You can spin this one instead of spinning the car.’
Guenther Steiner’s gift for Nikita Mazepin 😂
(via nikita_mazepin/IG) pic.twitter.com/CYYoYEgYmI
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