The Haas Formula One Team finally did it. It fired both of its current drivers and replaced them with two young guns that have been competing in the junior ranks of the sport. In 2021, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin will hit the F1 grid for the first time in their careers. Let’s run you through what you need to know about both of ‘em.
If you see that last name, you know exactly who this is. Mick Schumacher is Michael Schumacher’s 21-year-old son and a driver that, in part because of his performance and in part because of that loaded last name, has caught the gaze of motorsport pundits around the globe since he first got behind the wheel.
Let’s run through his stats:
- Four top-three finishes in various championships
- Leading 2020 Formula 2 points standings
- Nine top-three finishes in F2 this year
For a young driver in a competitive world, those are some fairly impressive numbers—certainly far more impressive than other drivers that have ridden to the pinnacle of a racing discipline on the back of a famous name. Expectations will be high for Mick, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t meet them.
Schumacher joined the Ferrari Driver Academy in January of 2019, so his promotion to Haas makes sense—the team is powered by Ferrari engines.
He was due to make an FP1 outing at the Eifel Grand Prix, but bad weather saw his chance behind the wheel postponed. Instead, the first time we see Mick on track during an F1 race weekend will be the first free practice session in Abu Dhabi.
Russian-born 21-year-old Nikita Mazepin is currently sitting third in the Formula 2 championship with two wins and six podium positions to his name. He has also finished within the top three in the GP3 championship and the F3 Asian championship. That said, he hasn’t really been pegged as one of the drivers expected to progress into F1—you’d likely only recognize his name if you avidly watch the junior formulae.
And he comes along with his fair share of criticism, both of being a pay driver and for his unsportsmanlike behavior, which includes beating the shit out of one of his competitors.
Yes, Mazepin is largely part of the 2021 Haas squad because he has a lot of money. His dad is worth over $7 billion as a result of the family chemical company, and the family was in talks with the Force India team as it went into administration and was ultimately bought out by Lawrence Stroll.
That said, he’s showing brief glimpses of promise in his career. He’ll need to work hard to achieve consistent results, but I can imagine Haas will cut him some slack if he’s able to cover his bills.
Current drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen are both looking like they’re done with F1. There’s been a lot of back-and-forth talk about where they’ll end up—IndyCar, IMSA, Formula E, wherever—but this late in the year, finding a seat can be difficult.
That said, Kevin Magnussen has joined Chip Ganassi Racing’s DPi program in the IMSA series. Grosjean’s plans are currently to be determined.