Nikita Mazepin talked about his rear-end issue as Guenther Steiner notes it is difficult to balance, while Mick Schumacher says he likes loose rear.
Over the weekend in F1 Spanish GP, Haas chief Steiner – for the first time – noted the bigger issue being faced by Mazepin in 2021. He put it down to the rear-end of the car, which is hampering his style and overall balance for him.
It is something what Schumacher likes, which is why, the German is finding a bit easier to handle the car. “I think Mick maybe can adapt more, or quicker to what the car is doing,” said Steiner. “I mean, we all know the car is not very good, and we always said that, so as much as my colleagues here are struggling, I wish I would have one of their cars. In the end, I think Nikita, we just need to try to get him a better balance as well.
“So the deficiencies of the car, to overcome them a little bit, the car is very unstable in turn-in and I guess Mick maybe can manage that one better and Nikita struggles a little bit more, because he wants the rear end, just to be confident that it sticks. So, it’s one of the things where we need to try to get Nikita into a better spot, that he feels more confident – because if he has no confidence in his cars, it’s very difficult to drive them, because, you know, the speeds you are going, it is not easy, so that is what you are trying to do.”
The point made by Steiner was agreed upon by Mazepin, when asked by FormulaRapida.net. The Russian put it down to the lack of downforce in VF-21, while adding that they are trying to do smaller things to make it better balanced for him.
“The issue that Guenther raised has been a consistent theme throughout this year, that mostly comes because the car at the moment, it’s very difficult to compete with the top teams because they have more downforce and more downforce gives you a more stable and grippy car,” Mazepin said.
“We’re obviously stiffening the rear bar, and also playing with the stiffness of the springs [to try and fix it]. All I can say, it [the car] doesn’t suit my driving, how much, it is difficult to give a number,” summed up Mazepin, as his teammate Schumacher, agreed that he liked a bit more of the loose rear end, which helps in his driving style.
“Everybody knows some drivers have different driving styles,” said Schumacher, when asked by FormulaRapida.net. “For example, for me, I like having a loose rear, I enjoy having a strong front. And maybe Nikita doesn’t. It’s not that we’re going completely different directions. But still, we have different preferences in cars.
“I’m quite happy where my car is at the moment,” Schumacher summed up, as Steiner elaborated on the topic, while adding that it is tough for them to balance the car, especially with no upgrades. Even with the limitations, they are trying to work it better for Mazepin.
“What you do to try to give him what he wants, you work what you got – but the difference is, in the junior categories the cars are normally a one-make car, so you start with the same basis,” Steiner said. “Obviously our basis this year is not good compared to our opposition. And we know that we have got a weak rear-end aerodynamically, so we don’t have enough downforce.
“We just try to make it up with some changes in the set-up. That’s the only thing you can do, trying in some circuits is possible to do, some is not. It depends a little bit on where your balance needs to be, because of the different type of corners. So it’s not an easy task with this car to find something which he likes, because the rear-end is unstable,” summed up Steiner.
Here’s how F1 Spanish GP panned out