F1 rookie Nikita Mazepin needs to learn that Haas’ 2021 car is “not as good as a Mercedes”, team principal Guenther Steiner has said.
Mazepin struggled in his opening two race weekends in Formula 1 with the American racing outfit, with him spinning several times and crashing out of his debut grand prix after just a matter of seconds.
Prior to joining Haas, the Russian completed testing programmes with Force India (now Aston Martin) and Mercedes, and Steiner believes Mazepin needs to recognise that his current car is inferior to the previous F1 cars he has driven.
“I think he learned something but also he has to learn that our car is not as good as a Mercedes,” Steiner said.
“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.”
Asked if he believes the jump from Formula Two, which Mazepin finished fifth in last year, to F1 was proving to be too difficult for the Russian, Steiner said:
“No, I think we [are] jumping to conclusions too early. For sure Bahrain, he had a few spins and, as you say, maybe F2 to F1 is still a difficult step. I don’t know.
“Bahrain was very difficult conditions as well, as I said before, at the end, I put it down to learning,” he added.
As for the matter of Mazepin’s many spins, Steiner reiterated that he has plenty of time to get to grips with his new car.
“Again, I can just repeat, we are here, we have got the whole year to learn,” Steiner said.
“We haven’t got the whole year to spin but we are here, that is what we are trying to do this year.”