By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Haas F1 Team confirmed Tuesday that Formula 2 racer Nikita Mazepin will be one of the new drivers on the 2021 Formula One grid.
Mazepin has made most of his opportunity with Hitech Grand Prix this season, scoring two F2 victories. Both being feature races at Silverstone and Mugello along with four additional podium finishes.
He’ll become the fourth-ever Russian to compete in the sport’s highest level and pending on Daniil Kvyat’s status at AlphaTauri, he might be the only one active in 2021.
For now, the announcement is a dream come true for the 21-year-old as he appreciates the entire American-based team on trusting him to be in the Ferrari powered machine.
“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,” said Mazepin. “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 F1 Team Principal Guenther Steiner is delighted having Mazepin as one of his two new drivers next season which will consist 23 races, the most in F1’s 71-year history.
“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,” said Steiner. “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 is currently third in the F2 championship with the finale at Bahrain’s outer circuit left. Mazepin also has a mathematical shot at the championship, which includes potential future teammate Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott.