Nikita Mazepin is preparing to make his debut in Formula One this season with the Uralkali Haas F1 team, and after a rocky start to their relationship, the 21-year-old says he is “very focused on making the most of this year”.
Speaking about how he’s feeling ahead of the 2021 season, he said:
“This is going to be an amazing moment that I’ve waited for the best part of my life. The reason I love my job is that I get to drive the fastest cars in the world together with those 19 drivers on the track.
“I haven’t particularly visualized walking into the paddock but getting into the car before my first test day in a new car will be a special moment.
“I have definitely visualized the thrill of that process many times when it will really sink in that I am in F1, driving with the best of the best.
“So many emotions around it – very focused on making the most of this year, of rising to the many challenges of this unique time in the sport and actually trying to really appreciate every single moment of my rookie season.”
Similar to his teammate Mick Schumacher, Mazepin has just 1.5 days behind the wheel of the VF-21 amid condensed pre-season testing in Bahrain.
Speaking about his focus for the weekend, Nikita said:
“Obviously, the testing time has been significantly reduced this year compared to other years and this makes everything that is already challenging for a rookie more challenging.
“Every 10 minutes of a test day will be much more valuable for us. So, the key objective is to get up to that limit without overstepping it.
“The car is going to be new, so hoping for a little luck so as not to lose any track time. I need to get as comfortable in the car as time permits.
“We have a lot of new components in the car that are tailored to me, which take some getting used to.
“I haven’t driven a Ferrari-powered car before, so I need to learn controls and get to grips with the new machinery.”
Live coverage of pre-season testing in Bahrain will air from 6:50 am to 11:05 am for the morning session and will resume from 11:55 am to 4:10 pm for the afternoon session each day, from March 12-14, 2021.