Guenther Steiner talks about the corner entry issue – which the Haas F1 car has – with Nikita Mazepin is facing more than teammate Mick Schumacher.
Haas’ Mazepin has certainly endured a slight baptism of fire so far in his debut F1 season. It was always going to be that way in some ways as he is a rookie, but against teammate Mick Schumacher, its worse for the Russian, who has managed to do a bit better.
Earlier in the season, his rear trouble came to light and going by it, another his Achilles Heels – as told by him and boss Steiner – is corner entry. His trouble has worsened considering the VF-21 – most VF-20 – has been unstable in that area from start.
While some drivers overcome this issue, some do not and must learn to live with it somehow. For Mazepin, it has only troubled him more in recent times – one of key reasons for his multiple spins. In an admission, the Russian agreed to be pretty bad at driving cars, which don’t have the stability, when entering the corner.
“I have to say looking at the Austrian GP qualifying, it was one of the most frustrating days I have had in F1,” said Mazepin to media including FormulaRapida.net. “I think we started in a reasonably good place with…we tried to maximise the performance of the car, which is not very performant.
“And as a trend, I am pretty bad at driving cars that don’t have much entry stability, that’s one thing that Haas this year doesn’t have, so then we try to find things which the car doesn’t have and we are in the place which is quite hopeless,” summed up Mazepin, who then went on toe finish at the back, once again beaten by Schumacher.
When asked to elaborate more his troubles, Haas F1 team boss Steiner concurred Mazepin on this and understands and respects his drivers issues. “I would say he doesn’t like an unstable car in the corner entry” he said. “And this car is the master of being unstable at the entry I can tell you that much from the drivers last year, that was always the issue.
“If you don’t like it, for sure you struggle more. A lot of guys lose their confidence when a car is unstable at the entry because they don’t know how to attack a corner without spinning out. If you are uncomfortable with that, you struggle more and some drivers cant get better with an oversteering car or an underdsteering car.
“So I think that is what we are trying to fix always is this balance but up to now we did not achieve it in a sufficient way,” summed up Steiner. With such troubles, the maximum Mazepin can do right now is play with the set-up. With the lack of experience, any changes requested is not necessarily bringing the desired results, further irritating him.
“Absolutely, the car is difficult to drive as we have said before and we are trying to find solutions and that is the only thing we can do at this stage,” said Steiner. “Until we find a sweet spot that he likes. But he just needs to drive it. You can have simulation with everything and predictions. But we cannot get there at the moment and he describes it very well.”
As is known for some time, Schumacher is not experiencing the same issues as Mazepin. The German, in fact, told FormulaRapida.net earlier in the season that he prefers a bit of instability, since it suits his style of driving. Steiner noted the same that the German is able to handle the instability better and his confidence is growing with non-issues.
“I think he can handle that instability better,” said Steiner. “He does not feel as uncomfortable as Nikita. And that is why he can live it, which is my opinion. He can focus better when making a turn in corner and can live with the instability and that’s why he is a little bit different.”
The difference between the style can certainly be ascertained here, where Schumacher – not having to do a lot of changes – is able to grow on confidence and find the limit, while Mazepin is still chasing the right balance with the car and so is always a step behind his teammate, with the gap in races a bit larger than qualifying.
The story was co-written by Neil Farrell
Here’s gift from Nikita Mazepin to Guenther Steiner