March 28’s season-opening race in Bahrain will mark the beginning of Yuki Tsunoda, Mick Schumacher, and Nikita Mazpein’s Formula One careers.
Yuki Tsunoda, from Kanagawa, Japan, will be driving alongside Pierre Gasly for AlphaTauri this season after Daniil Kvyat’s exit from the sport.
Meanwhile, Haas has welcomed a completely new lineup in German driver, Mick Schumacher, and Nikita Mazepin from Russia – both signing multi-year deals with the team.
With just one week left until Formula One returns for the 2021 season, here’s what you need to know about the new drivers on track:
Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri
After winning the F4 Japanese Championship in 2018, Yuki moved to Europe the following year to compete in the newly-formed FIA Formula 3 Championship, ending the season in ninth position with three podiums and a win.
He graduated to Formula 2 for 2020 and enjoyed a successful season, gathering seven podiums, two Feature Race victories, and a Sprint Race win.
Yuki is part of both the Red Bull Junior Team and the Honda’s young driver programme and finished third in last year’s FIA Formula 2 Championship driving for Carlin.
This result meant the 20-year-old from Kanagawa, Japan, finally qualified for a Formula 1 Super License.
He recently covered 300km in a 2018 Formula 1 car during a test at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari Circuit in Imola, as well as driving for AlphaTauri at the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi on 15 December.
The last time a Japanese driver raced in Formula 1 was when Kamui Kobayashi took part in the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Mick Schumacher – Haas
Schumacher joins Haas F1 Team with six seasons of open-wheel racing under his belt.
Starting his journey in the 2015 ADAC F4 Germany series, he progressed to the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, where he won the title in 2018 as a result of eight victories.
He was appointed to the Ferrari Driver Academy in 2019 as he made his Formula 2 debut.
Schumacher then led the 2020 Formula 2 title race heading into the final round of the season at Bahrain International Circuit – winning the title by 14-points.
He had his first taste of contemporary Formula 1 cars in April of that season, participating at the in-season test in Bahrain testing with both Scuderia Ferrari and Alfa Romeo Racing across the two days.
Schumacher also got the chance to drive the team’s VF-20 in FP1 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Friday, December 11, and then participated in the end-of-season young driver test at Yas Marina Circuit, Tuesday, December 15.
Nikita Mazepin – Haas
Mazepin graduated from karting in 2015 – competing in Formula Renault 2.0 NEC. He then competed in two seasons of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship before a move into the GP3 Series in 2018.
Mazepin finished as runner-up in the title fight that season with four wins, his success leading the way to Formula 2 in 2019.
In 2020, Mazepin then impressed F1 team bosses on track racing for Hitech Grand Prix as he climbed to third in the points courtesy of a second-place finish in the Round 11 Sprint race at Bahrain International Circuit – he went on to finish out the season in fifth.
The Russian, in his second season in Formula 1’s official feeder category, has two Feature Race wins to his credit at Silverstone and Mugello, with four additional podiums and two fastest race laps adding to a fantastic 2020 campaign.
He has recent Formula 1 test experience topping the timesheets in Barcelona’s second in-season test day in May 2019 driving for Mercedes.