Nikita Mazepin is in the middle of one of the worst Formula 1 seasons in years, but he said recently that he had identified at least one reason for that. The reason is, apparently, is that his chassis is 9 pounds heavier than his teammate Mick Schumacher’s.
Mazepin has outqualified and beaten Schumacher in a race where they have both finished just once – at Monaco – but revealed recently that the team found his chassis was slightly heavier than his teammate’s.
“I’ve driven that car only in Monaco, I’ve been offered it only for one race,” Mazepin said.
“It’s a physically mathematical difference. We as drivers are put in a position where we have to fight for every 800 grams or kilo of our weight, sometimes drinking a little bit less water to make sure that you’re as light as possible for qualifying.
“Then obviously, if you’re losing four kilos in the chassis, it’s going to make a big difference in the long straights in every circuit, like at Paul Ricard or Austria, and then we’re going to the Silverstone.
This is curious in that Formula 1 cars have minimum weight, which is 752 kilograms, or around 1,658 pounds unfueled for 2021, and Formula 1 teams take weight extremely seriously because they have to, regulations and all that. The idea that Mazepin’s team had this revelation after the season started means either that Haas is extraordinarily incompetent or that Mazepin is extraordinarily gullible and/or naive.
Because it seems most likely what is happening here is that Mazepin’s team is telling him what he wants to hear: Don’t worry, Nikita, you’re not as bad as your results, you just haven’t had The Good Haas yet. It’s the car not you! We promise!
One other possibility is that Haas knew all along that it gave Mazepin a heavier-chassis car but that, on the merits, Schumacher deserved the lighter one, and why tell Mazepin anyway. Because Mazepin also said this in the Motorsport.com interview:
“I’m very new in Formula 1,” Mazepin said. “I’m still discovering those things [with the car weight making such an impact].
“For example, that in Formula 2 would have not been so important, but I think Formula 1, it is such a high performance environment.
“I’m just coming to realise that it’s a lot more complex than I would have imagined going to beginning of this year in technical side of things.”
Mazepin will get The Good Haas after F1 takes its break for the summer, which starts after the Hungarian Grand Prix, making his first race with The Good Haas the Belgian Grand Prix on August 29. And this all, by the way, is merely an effort to be competitive with his teammate and not, you know, win a point in the driver’s championship. We’ve all seen enough to know that that isn’t happening.