Russian racing driver Nikita Mazepin has downplayed the importance of the outright pace of Haas’ 2021 challenger and said he believes he and team-mate Mick Schumacher will be pretty evenly matched in Formula One.
Speaking just a month before pre-season testing in Bahrain, Mazepin’s comments come after team principal Guenther Steiner revealed that they will be focusing “99 percent” of their resources on their 2022 car.
“I’m very much looking forward to it anyway because graduating to F1, it’s going to be exciting, regardless of how performant the car is,” Mazepin told The Race.
“I think at this stage in my career now being a young driver it’s irrelevant to speak if the car is good or not.
“I’m obviously aware that the team’s had a difficult year. However, my focus is on getting ready for F1, the car is very different to what I’m used to. And the calendar is going to be almost double what I’m used to.
“That’s the challenges that are ahead of me and that’s my focus for now,” he added.
Continuing, Mazepin emphasised the importance of him immediately making a good impression in Formula One:
“When you’re getting to F1 there’s almost [always] one shot at it, I believe.
“My job is to outperform my team-mate, as always, and do the best I can. So, the pressure is still there on my shoulders.
“I believe I’m ready for F1 and I want to show it to the team, first of all.
“I’m expecting to do well in regards the potential performance and speed of the car I’ll be racing. And I believe that me and my team-mate should be close within the lap times,” he added.