It was in July that Nikita Mazepin said he thinks he knows why he’s been bad, identifying his chassis as the problem, specifically that it was slightly heavier than his teammate Mick Schumacher’s. Mazepin eventually got a lighter chassis after Formula 1's summer break, and his dad acknowledged recently that he personally paid for it. For some reason, the results didn’t change much.
Mazepin did indeed have his best race of the season in Belgium, the first race after F1's summer break, finishing 17th, ahead of Kimi Räikkönen, who is a former world champion. But Mazepin’s teammate Mick Schumacher still finished ahead of him, in 16th, which has been the pattern all season.
After that, Mazepin DNFed in the Netherlands, he DNFed again in Italy, he finished last among those who finished in Russia, he finished last in Turkey, he finished last among those who finished in the United States, he finished last among those who finished in Mexico, he finished 17th and finally beat Schumacher for once in Brazil, and he finished last among those who finished in Qatar.
He was actually back to his old chassis in Qatar, after damaging the new one in practice, and he may have to use the old one in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, too. Anyway, the results have shown that it doesn’t seem to matter much. I hope Mazepin’s dad considers this all money well spent.
“Yes, it really was a problem, but we solved it together with the team,” Grandpx.news quotes [Dmitry Mazepin] as having told Russia’s MatchTV.
“One chassis was destroyed at the end of the year as a result of a major accident, and a new one was built. The team then decided to give the new chassis to Mick Schumacher.
“But as soon as Nikita drove the old one, he immediately gave feedback that it was very different.
“It was in June when the team and I agreed that the chassis would change between the drivers to give them the chance to compare. Nikita had a good weekend with the new one and Mick had a big accident.
“So we made the decision to build a new chassis and I paid for the construction of it with my own money because we believe that the team should fight on equal terms.”
At some point, I will begin to admire Mazepin’s persistence, in that there is a long history of Formula 1 drivers giving it a go and deciding it’s not for them after a race or three. Which is what Mazepin probably should’ve done too; instead, he’s two races away from completing what is arguably the worst Formula 1 season of all time. All I will say is that Dmitry Mazepin sure must love his son.