Haas have confirmed one of their drivers for the 2021 Formula 1 season, with Nikita Mazepin set to make his F1 debut.
The Russian, who has been linked with the drive since the team confirmed Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen will be leaving at the end of the current campaign, joins after two seasons competing in F2. The 21-year-old has had a strong year with Hitech, currently sitting third in the drivers’ championship.
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said: “I’m delighted that Nikita Mazepin will be driving for Haas F1 Team next season. Nikita has underlined his credentials in Formula 2 this year with a brace of victories and a handful of podiums in what’s been a strong sophomore season for him. He’s developed into a mature racer moving up through the junior ranks – notably most recently in the GP3 Series, where he finished runner-up in 2018, and obviously in Formula 2 over the past two seasons. I’m excited to see what Nikita can achieve in Formula 1 and we look forward to giving him the opportunity to compete at the highest level of world motorsport. With a record-setting 23 race schedule set for the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, he’s going to get plenty of track action to learn all the nuances of grand prix racing.”
Mazepin added: “Becoming a Formula 1 driver is a lifelong dream come true for me. I really appreciate the trust being put in me by Gene Haas, Guenther Steiner, and the whole of the team. They’re giving a young driver an opportunity and I thank them for that. I’m looking forward to starting our relationship together, both on and off the track, and I’m naturally keen to continue to demonstrate my abilities after a strong Formula 2 season. The team will be looking to me for feedback and inputs in order to refine its package for 2021 and beyond. I will take that responsibility on and can’t wait to get started.”
Mazepin was also the runner up in the 2018 GP3 championship, and has previously tested with Force India. He’s hotly-tipped to be driving alongside F2 rival Mick Schumacher next season, although Haas are yet to confirm who’ll be in the other car.