Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has ruled out Nikita Mazepin from next week’s young driver test in Abu Dhabi, but the decision has nothing to do with the Russian’s recent private antics.
Mazepin, who will race with Haas in F1 next season, has undergone an “extensive” testing program with the Brackley squad to prepare himself for his promotion to the big time.
It was initially believed that the 21-year-old Russian would cap off his program with an outing with Mercedes at next week’s post-season test, but the German outfit has opted instead to run Formula E chargers Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries.
“We had an extensive testing programme with him throughout the year with a two-year-old car,” Wolff told Sky F1.
Vandoorne and de Vries to test for Mercedes in Abu Dhabi
Wolff said that Mazepin’s exclusion from the test wasn’t related to the video posted by the Russian on Instagram and that landed the future Haas driver in hot water this week.
“No, it’s nothing to do with his actions,” he added. “The most important thing was to have some learning from the test.
“For the young driver test, we decided on the line-up over the last few days and providing the opportunity to Stoffel and Nyck is good.
“They’re our works drivers in Formula E, they’ve done a super-solid job. And also with Stoffel not being in the car last week, it just made sense to put the two in the car.”
As Mercedes’ official reserve driver, Vandoorne had initially been considered as Lewis Hamilton’s replacement before a deal was struck with Williams for George Russell to be loaned to the championship winning team for last weekend’s Sakhir GP.
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