Haas: 'We jump to a conclusion too early' about Mazepin

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Haas says conclusions about Nikita Mazepin are being made "too early" after the tricky start to his Formula 1 career continued at Imola.

It's safe to say the Russian had few fans upon his arrival on the grid and in Bahrain, he spun six times across the three days, his last coming after barely three corners on the opening lap of the race.

Then, during practice last Friday, Mazepin spun twice more, ending the first session in the barriers at Rivazza 2.

“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,” Haas team boss Guenther Steiner said in the press conference shortly after.

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“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."

Haas have long maintained that the decision to sign Mazepin was as much about talent as it was money, and Steiner believes his early errors could also stem from his past F1 experience.

“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.”

Mazepin's spins did taper off as the weekend progressed, but then on race day, he almost succumbed on the first lap again after colliding with a recovering Nicholas Latifi.

“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,” he said post-race.

“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.”

Fortunately, he was able to continue and did reach the chequered flag albeit as the final finisher.

“Well, definitely better than last time,” he summarised.

“So much happened in this race, from starting on the wet tyres and not really expecting it because there was sunshine not long before the start, to then a red flag.

“So loads of things happening, but it’s a good learning experience from the back and to see the chequered flag was good.”