Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher surprised Haas team principal Guenther Steiner with how prepared they both were for their debut test as Formula 1 rookies in Bahrain.
While both drivers have driven F1 machinery before and taken part in official tests, they have never carried out a full pre-season, and were this year faced with the prospect of a single three-day test. Despite the limited running and lack of experience compared to previous pair Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, the two rookies impressed Steiner with their performances.
“We are not looking so much at the pace of it, for us it’s more about the learning,” Steiner said. “For me the most important thing is that they learn all the processes, procedures, they don’t do anything wrong, they don’t crash or anything like this. And I was impressed by that.
“I was quite impressed how actually prepared these two guys are. The feedback from them, I didn’t expect that, to be honest. So that was very good. I think we have got two guys that we can build on for the future.”
And while the future potential of the drivers was encouraging, Steiner was also positive about how smoothly the test went from the team’s point of view.
“It didn’t have a big impact having two rookies — I expected more of an impact. I thought there would be more issues but these two guys are very well prepared, their debriefs are very good. They did a good job. I expected more issues or more little mistakes or something but they did their homework.”
The team principal also explained how the two drivers had been given experience, with Haas trying to run through as many race weekend situations as possible over the three-day test.
“We just always tried to do like a mock race weekend in half a day, just so the guys get used to all the scenarios. You never get exposed to all the scenarios but just as many as possible so they get natural in doing things. That was our biggest aim, going out at first on the soft tires and then doing a race simulation.”