Nikita Mazepin has surely had an interesting season till now. According to Haas boss Guenther Steiner, conclusions about himare being made “too early” as the Russian driver has a lot more to offer.
The 22-year-old had a peculiar performance in Bahrain as he spun his car six times during the three days there. In fact, in one of the races, he had a spin after just three corners into the opening lap.
Last Friday, while practicing, he had two more spins which ended his first session at Rivazza 2.
Haas team boss Steiner, in a press conference, stated that Mazepin is going through a “painful” learning process and that the team will look to provide him with all help possible.
“At some stage, [the spins] need to be reduced, but he’s trying very hard for that – I guess he’s trying sometimes a little bit too hard,” he said.
“He needs to find that limit but that’s for him to find, not us. We can help him in doing that, but it’s one of these things that I’ve said before: learning is painful.
“It comes with pain, but at some stage that will hopefully stop and he will be in a good place. I don’t want to put a number or time on anything of this but it will sort itself out in my opinion.”
Some may claim that Haas signing the Russian was about money. The outfit, however, has stated that talent too had its role to play. Steiner also thinks that Mazepin’s past F1 experience seems to be influencing his current performance.
“I think we jump to a conclusion too early,” he claimed. “Maybe F2 to F1 is still a difficult step, but Bahrain was very difficult conditions as well.
“As for him driving the Mercedes last year (in 2019)? I think he learned something, but also he has to learn our car is not as good as a Mercedes.
“I mean, I’m very open about that one. I’m not trying to hide that. For sure the Mercedes is a little bit less temperamental than our car.
“But again, I just can repeat, we are here and we have got the whole year to learn. Hopefully, we haven’t got the whole year to spin, but we are here [to learn]. That is what we are trying to do this year.”
As the weekend progressed, Mazepin’s spins almost died down. But then on race day, he had a collision with Nicholas Latifi.
In a post-race interview, Mazepin revealed what went down at that moment.
“He came back on the track, I don’t think he knew I was there, and with these cars, if you go on the grass when it’s wet, you go into the wall,
“So I stayed and gave him all the room I had, but I don’t think he was aware I was there.
“You are obviously quite stressed when you go off and then come back to the circuit, and I think it’s just unfortunate for him.”
Mazepin managed to cross the chequered flag as the final finisher.
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