Mazepin feeling "quite lost" with difficult Haas F1 aero package

Nikita Mazepin feels “quite lost” with the set-up direction of the Haas Formula 1 car, saying it has one of the most difficult aerodynamic packages he has ever driven.

Mazepin feeling "quite lost" with difficult Haas F1 aero package

Mazepin moved up from Formula 2 to make his F1 debut with Haas at the start of the year, but has managed to beat team-mate Mick Schumacher just once in both qualifying and races at the eight events so far this season.

The Russian driver revealed last week that he was driving a slightly heavier car than Schumacher, something he thought had “quite an impact”, with Haas set to give him a new chassis after the summer break.

Mazepin sampled a number of different set-ups for the Haas VF-21 car at the Red Bull Ring last week throughout practice, only to return to the baseline set-up for qualifying.

Speaking after Friday’s running for the Austrian Grand Prix, Mazepin admitted he was finding it “quite frustrating” working with the “extreme” set-ups that he struggled to make sense of.

“With this car, I would say it’s probably one of the most difficult aero packages I’ve ever driven,” Mazepin said.

“And the issue with the set-ups is that they don’t really make sense to what feedback they give. Therefore, I’m quite lost in that respect.

“Coming from junior formulas, more aero balance means more oversteer, but in F1, it definitely doesn’t mean that. It gives different ways the tyres work during the lap, and it’s also things that affect the warm-up.

“So I don’t want to be too boring, but it’s quite extreme, and it’s not very straightforward, I would say.”

Nikita Mazepin, Haas VF-21

Nikita Mazepin, Haas VF-21

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Mazepin finished last in both FP1 and FP2 on Friday at the Red Bull Ring, trailing Schumacher by two-tenths of a second in the afternoon session.

Asked what he could do to try and get on top of the issues, Mazepin said he wanted to try and gain a better understanding of the engineering involved to try and aid communication with his crew.

“I probably need a little bit of engineering classes,” Mazepin said.

“I’ve always gone with the approach that a driver does his job and the engineers do theirs, but at the moment, I think we speak a bit of a different language.

“I’m going to study, without joking, quite a few details of that to understand how I can also advise the team on making the car better.

“Because I think the way it’s working now is not very promising.”

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