Mazepin: F1 technical side 'a lot more complex' than expected

Haas rookie Nikita Mazepin says he's been caught out by the technical complexity of F1 in his maiden season in the sport as well as by certain specific characteristics of his team's VF-21.

Mazepin graduated to F1 this season with the US outfit, serving his apprenticeship in an arguably challenging environment.

In addition to learning the ropes of Grand Prix racing like any young rookie promoted to the big time, the 22-year-old is also getting acquainted with the significant step up, compared to F2, in terms of the sport's technical complexity and the knowledge required to properly set up a car.

But Mazepin's struggles have also been compounded by the fact that he is driving a car that is slightly heavier than the chassis supplied to his teammate Mick Schumacher, a disparity that the Russian says has impacted his performance and which should be resolved by Haas in the latter part of the summer.

"I've driven that car only in Monaco, I've been offered it only for one race," Mazepin said. "It's a physically mathematical difference.

"We as drivers are put in a position where we have to fight for every 800 grams or kilo of our weight, sometimes drinking a little bit less water to make sure that you're as light as possible for qualifying.

"Then obviously, if you're losing four kilos in the chassis, it's going to make a big difference in the long straights in every circuit, like at Paul Ricard or Austria, and then we're going to Silverstone.

"It's difficult to say at this moment in time what I expect, because we need to wait and see."

But an extra load of weight isn't Mazepin's only issue. The Russian is also struggling due to the characteristics and intricacies of his car's aero package and its impact on his set-up work.

"I think Formula 1, it is such a high-performance environment," he admitted. "I'm just coming to realise that it's a lot more complex than I would have imagined going to beginning of this year in technical side of things."

Addressing the Haas VF-21's main weakness as far as he is concerned, Mazepin highlighted the car's instability on entry to corners, a trait he has never felt comfortable with, even when racing in motorsport's junior categories.

"We try to maximise the performance of the car, which is not very performant," he explained.

"I think as a trend, I'm pretty bad at driving cars that don't have very much entry stability. And that's one thing that Haas this year doesn't have.

"Then we try to find things that the car just doesn't have, and then we get in a place which is quite hopeless.

"So yeah, it hasn't been very beneficial. But I'm quite looking forward to being out there on a new track, which is Silverstone next time."

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Michael Delaney

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