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Haas signs Nikita Mazepin for 2021 F1 season

by Elliot Wood

Photo: Formula Motorsport ltd

Formula 2 title contender Nikita Mazepin will step up to Formula 1 next year with Haas on a multi-year deal, it has been announced.

The Russian is currently third in the F2 points with one round to go, with two feature race wins to his name in his sophomore season.

Prior to F2 he was title runner-up to Anthoine Hubert in GP3, made the podium three times across two seasons in FIA European Formula 3, and also raced in the Formula Renault Eurocup, BRDC British F3 and MRF Challenge.

“Becoming a Formula 1 driver is a lifelong dream come true for me,” said Mazepin.

“I really appreciate the trust being put in me by Gene Haas, [team principal] Guenther Steiner, and the whole of the team.

“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.

“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 currently runs Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, although Grosjean will be replaced by 2017 World Series Formula V8 3.5 champion Pietro Fittipaldi for this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix after being injured last time out in Bahrain, but has dropped both of its experienced drivers for what is expected to be an all-rookie 2021 line-up of F2 graduates.

“I’m delighted that Nikita Mazepin will be driving for Haas F1 Team next season,” Haas team principal Guenther Steiner added.

“Nikita has underlined his credentials in F2 this year with a brace of victories and a handful of podiums in what’s been a strong sophomore season for him.

“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 F2 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 F1 World Championship, he’s going to get plenty of track action to learn all the nuances of grand prix racing.”

Mazepin’s previous F1 experience includes participating in official tests with Force India and Mercedes-AMG, as well as a private testing programme over the last few years in one of the Mercedes’ older cars.