Sakhir Grand Prix – One of the 2021 Haas drivers has been confirmed, with Nikita Mazepin making the step up to Formula 1 with the American team.
Russia’s Nikita Mazepin will step up to Formula 1 in 2021, having been picked as one of the Haas team’s drivers for next season. The Russian has been linked with the seat for some time – he comes with significant backing in the form of Russian energy company Uralkali. Owned by his father Dmitry, the money Mazepin brings with him makes him an attractive proposition for Haas, who have made no secret that their funding has taken a serious hit in light of the coronavirus pandemic and lack of a title sponsor in the wake of the Rich Energy debacle last year.
Mazepin is a contender, however outside, for the Formula 2 title where he currently races with Hitech. He has a chance of winning the title thanks to two feature race wins in 2020 at Silverstone and Mugello, as well as four other podiums. He finished in P2 last time out in Bahrain’s Sprint race.
“I’m delighted that Nikita Mazepin will be driving for Haas F1 Team next season,” stated Guenther Steiner, Team Principal of Haas F1 Team. “Nikita has underlined his credentials in Formula 2 this year with a brace of victories and a handful of podiums in what’s been a strong sophomore season for him.”
“He’s developed into a mature racer moving up through the junior ranks – notably most recently in the GP3 Series, where he finished runner-up in 2018, and obviously in Formula 2 over the past two seasons. I’m excited to see what Nikita can achieve in Formula 1 and we look forward to giving him the opportunity to compete at the highest level of world motorsport. With a record-setting 23 race schedule set for the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, he’s going to get plenty of track action to learn all the nuances of grand prix racing.”
Mazepin also tested with Mercedes in 2019, driving the W10 at the Barcelona in-season test where he topped the times. This was during his first year in F2, following a year in which he finished P2 in the final year of the GP3 series.
“Becoming a Formula 1 driver is a lifelong dream come true for me,” commented Nikita Mazepin on joining Haas F1 Team. “I really appreciate the trust being put in me by Gene Haas, Guenther Steiner, and the whole of the team. They’re giving a young driver an opportunity and I thank them for that. I’m looking forward to starting our relationship together, both on and off the track, and I’m naturally keen to continue to demonstrate my abilities after a strong Formula 2 season. The team will be looking to me for feedback and inputs in order to refine its package for 2021 and beyond. I will take that responsibility on and can’t wait to get started.”
Haas are yet to confirm their second driver for 2021, as they are replacing their entire driver line-up. Neither Romain Grosjean or Kevin Magnussen are staying with the team, with both likely to be moving on from Formula 1. Mick Schumacher, son of Michael, is hotly tipped to be moving up to F1 with Haas, as they are a Ferrari engine customer.