Haas Team Boss Defends Nikita Mazepin’s Race-Ending Spin on F1 Debut

Published 04/03/2021, 5:07 AM EDT
SCARPERIA, ITALY: Haas’ Nikita Mazepin is in doubt for 2021 Formula 1(Photo by Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


Haas F1 driver Nikita Mazepin had a debut to forget in Bahrain. The Russian’s race barely lasted a few turns until he ended up spinning the car and going off into the barriers. With a multitude of critics on his back, this performance only further damaged his reputation.

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Even a former F2 rival threw some shade at the Haas driver. However, Haas team principal Guenther Steiner revealed that Mazepin was extremely upset with himself. But the German said that Nikita is chomping at the bit to have another go in Imola.

Steiner said, “For sure, it’s not ideal what happened, but it happened. He beats himself up pretty badly but he is ready to go again.

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“I just said to him to keep his head up and keep on going.”

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Haas’ Nikita Mazepin gets a lift back to the pits after retiring from the race REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

However, Steiner is patient with the rookie driver. After all, the Haas VF21 is certainly not an ideal car to drive, as evidenced by the many spins both Mazepin and his teammate Mick Schumacher had in Bahrain. With the expected performance of the car also being low, Steiner doesn’t want to pin the blame on his rookie drivers for the shoddy result in the season opener.

Haas team boss not surprised with how the race panned out for Nikita Mazepin

Steiner absolved Mazepin of any wrongdoing in Bahrain. Instead, he attributed the Russian’s spin to the car being tough to handle and Mazepin being a person who tries to push to the limits, as anyone on debut would, in order to impress.

Formula One F1. Bahrain Grand Prix. Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain. Haas’ Nikita Mazepin in action during practice REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

He said, “Nikita pushed a little bit harder, but I think that’s his character for more than anything else. You try to find the limit and sometimes you go over it.

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“I’m not really surprised about that, because you try to do the best you can and obviously our car is not easy to drive. I think he’s one of these guys, well, he just tries very hard.”

That was far from the ideal start for the American team. But to be honest, nobody expected them to do any better. 2021 is shaping up to be a long and rough year for them. Will there be any joy on the way? Perhaps it’s best not to be too optimistic.

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Ronan Carvalho

1015 articles

Ronan Carvalho is senior F1 author for Essentiallysports. Ronan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from St. Xavier's College.

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