REVEALED: The Mega F1 Safety Failure Nikita Mazepin Faced at US Grand Prix

Published 10/26/2021, 3:52 PM EDT
Motor racing – Formula One – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 24, 2021 Haas’ Nikita Mazepin arrives at the circuit REUTERS/Anton Vaganov


Haas F1 Racing Team debutant Nikita Mazepin is not having too great a season with multiple early retirements and spinning accidents on the race tracks. With only five races left in the calendar, the Russian was looking to improve on his performance, but some safety issues hampered his race again.

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Just when the race started at the Circuit of The Americas, he noticed his sight was blocked by a loose headrest. Upon informing his engineers about it, he had to return to the pits and lost some crucial time in the ordeal. Reflecting on what went wrong for him in Texas, Mazepin talked about the issue in a recent interview.

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Nikita Mazepin was disheartened by the safety issue that sabotaged his race

Both Nikita Mazepin and his teammate, former F2 Champion Mick Schumacher, entered the world of Formula 1 in 2021 with Haas F1 Racing Team. But as it stands right now, Mick has outperformed Mazepin at 14 out of the 17 races this season. And it was no different in Austin as Mazepin saw many warnings and deleted lap timings due to him crossing the track limits time and again.

In the free practice sessions, he was behind Red Bull driver Sergio Perez by a whopping 28.7 seconds as all his faster lap timings were canceled. The struggling Russian had a poor race on Sunday as well and now we know the reason why.

Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Intercity Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – October 7, 2021, Haas’ Nikita Mazepin during a press conference ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix Pool via REUTERS/Sedat Suna

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a busy race for me as my headrest came loose in Turn 2 of the opening lap,” said Mazepin.

It was quite a treacherous lap as my headrest shot up and blocked both my mirrors. I had to ask the team if there was anyone around because I didn’t know where to submit. That added more than 25 seconds to race time thanks to the unnecessary pit stop. It made it difficult for me after that because I was now driving on my own. I tried to do another one-stop, but with these temperatures and tires, it was simply impossible,” he added.

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Guenther Steiner admits there was a problem with Mazepin’s car

Haas F1 Team Boss Guenther Steiner also talked about the mechanical problems with Mazepin’s car at the US Grand Prix. In his words, two of the screws which hold the headrest in space were not tightened and it cause trouble for the young driver.

He explained further that the decision to bring Mazepin into the pits was because they would risk disqualification on safety grounds if they did anything else. As the screws were loose, the mechanics swiftly pushed the headrest down and secured it, and the Russian took off again.

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Formula One F1 – Dutch Grand Prix – Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands – September 4, 2021 Haas’ Nikita Mazepin REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

Haas has not had a great season this year but they are hopeful for 2022. Both Schumacher and Mazepin have been offered an extension on their contract, so they will be staying for the next year as well. What remains to be seen is what happens with Haas’ car next year as there are many aerodynamics changes to be adopted.

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Riddhi Mondal

106 articles

Riddhi Mondal is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having previously worked as a student reporter at The Statesman, she is an ardent follower of all things F1. A nerd through and through, the complicated physics that goes into the cars is what drew Riddhi to the sport.

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