New Haas f1 driver Nikita Mazepin knew that stepping up to Formula 1 this season was going to be a huge challenge, but the reality had been even more intense and hectic than he had been expecting.
The 22-year-old Muscovite completed two seasons of Formula 2 with ART and Hitech before being picked to partner Mick Schumacher at Haas in place of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, making his debut in Bahrain last month.
With limited time in the car over the off-season, Mazepin has been involved in a number of controversial situations and spun repeatedly in his time in first outings on track.
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After spinning out on the first lap in Bahrain, he completed his first full length race in Imola and was 15th in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix signalling that he’s starting to get on top of his new role at last.
“It’s a big learning curve,” he told Motorsport.com this week. “It’s a completely different series to what I’m used to driving and, yes, it’s demanding.
“It’s very important to keep learning. Currently it is an upward curve, but there’s loads of work to be done.
“I knew it’s obviously intense, but the two qualifying sessions that I’ve had were rather hectic,” he declared. “The time is shorter, and there’s loads of things that are happening.
Mazepin explained that his early high rate of spins came from not yet being able to tell how far to push things in the cockpit, but that this was the sort of knowledge that would come with experience.
“I am pretty sure I’ll spend a few years in this paddock at least so I wouldn’t start panicking yet,” he insisted. “It’s a gradual build up, which I need to be focused on: and I am focused on it.
“There’s much more to be lost in over pushing and finding the walls, rather than to be found with finding a few tenths.”
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