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It's down to Mazepin to find his limit, insists Steiner

NEWS STORY
26/04/2021

As some question whether the step up from F2 to F1 is proving too much for him, Haas team boss, Guenther Steiner insists that Nikita Mazepin merely needs time in which to learn.

If nothing else, Nikita's opening performances have provided plenty of ammunition for those social media users keen to jump on his every mistake.

Of course, the Russian hasn't done himself any favours, but while some suggest the step up from F2 is proving too much for the youngster, team boss, Guenther Steiner prefers to let the driver find his limit in his own time.

Following his first lap crash in Bahrain and another in opening practice at Imola, when asked if he was concerned at Mazepin's seeming propensity for incidents, the Italian said: "At some stage they need to be reduced.

"He's trying very hard," he continued, "and I guess he's trying sometimes a little bit too hard. He needs to find that limit, but it's for him to find, not us.

"We can help him doing that but it's one of those things, as I've said before, learning is painful, you know? It comes with pain. At some stage that will hopefully stop and they will be in a good place."

Asked if there was a 'limit' to the number of incidents the team would put up with, Steiner said: "To put a number on it is impossible... It's not only difficult it is impossible.

"In Bahrain I would say what they had to learn is also the wind conditions, in Bahrain they were very rough and our car was already last year very bad in windy conditions, so just to understand that, it cost us a few spins - and Mick had one in the race as well.

"Obviously we are not planning to spin the car but on the other side, it's part of it, of the learning. So, I don't want to put a number or time on anything. This will sort itself out, in my opinion.

"I think we jump to conclusions too early," he added. "To judge somebody on this, it's a little bit early - but for sure Bahrain, he had a few spins.

"Maybe F2 to F1 is still a difficult step," he responded when asked about the step up from F2. "I don't know.

"Bahrain was very difficult conditions as well, but at the end, I put it down to learning.

"It's like him driving the Mercedes last year. I think he learned something but also he has to learn that our car is not as good as a Mercedes. I'm very open about that one. I'm not trying to hide that for sure the Mercedes is a little bit less temperamental than our car, so, again, I can just repeat, we are here, we have got the whole year to learn, we haven't got the whole year to spin but we are here, that is what we are trying to do this year."

"I don't think it's so difficult," argued AlphaTauri boss, Franz Tost of the move up to F1, his driver, Yuki Tsunoda, having impressed from the outset. "It depends always on the driver. It depends on his skills.

"It depends on how much time you have and he takes to prepare that driver for Formula 1. With Yuki we had quite an intensive winter testing programme - not only on the track but also in the factory when he was there. Thanks to Coronavirus he was not allowed to go to England and therefore he spent a lot of time with his engineers and I think this helped a lot.

"I must also say that the drivers that are coming up now from Formula 3, Formula 2, they are really well prepared - especially from the driving side. Why? Because most of them start with racing at six or seven years old in karting and then they do 10 years karting and then they have Formula 4 for one or two years and then Formula 3 and Formula 2 and that means they have a lot of race experience already and the speed in Formula 1 they get adapted quite soon with this.

"I don't think this is a major problem. And then it depends on how skilled the driver is, how deep is the gradient from the learning curve and how motivated and disciplined he is to get forward."

"I think the kids coming from F2, they are very well prepared," added Frederic Vasseur, who has worked with a number of this year's F1 drivers in junior formulae with ART, "they have the same tyres in the junior series, they have the same tracks, they are doing good mileage in good conditions.

"The cars also improved a lot and they are not so far from the F1 performance. It means that if you have a look at the step that the good drivers in F2 did in the last couple of seasons they went very well, they did very well in F1 and I think that the step is - for a very strong driver in F2 - the step is not so huge."

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