Nikita Mazepin said he deserves the blame after crashing at just the third corner on his Formula 1 debut in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
Haas has changed its driver line-up this year and will not be developing its 2021 car during the season so that it can focus on the new technical regulations, and has tasked its two rookies it has signed tasked with gaining experience. Mazepin failed to do that on his first start, however, losing control at the back of the field just three corners into the race and crashing into the outside barrier.
“Very simple, I made a mistake,” Mazepin said. “The tires were cold and I got on the curb, took too much throttle and spun. Totally my mistake. Very sorry for the team because they deserve to do much better than that. Very angry with myself… yeah, sorry for the team.
“Obviously there’s always positives to take. My days on track are very long. They include loads of things, so the learning experience is obviously there. You learn a lot during the days. You have your ups and downs. This is one of the biggest downs, but that’s life.”
Team principal Guenther Steiner was disappointed to see one car fail to finish on Sunday but didn’t feel the need to criticize Mazepin based on the Russian’s own reaction.
“Yeah, he was pretty beat up,” Steiner said. “I just said to him to keep his head up and keep on going. For sure it’s not ideal what happened, but it happened. He beat himself up pretty badly after, but he’s ready to go again. We pushed him up again, but otherwise Mick (Schumacher) did a good job. So at least we got half of what we wanted to achieve – 50 percent there.”
Schumacher also had a spin on the first lap of the race restart after the Safety Car caused by Mazepin’s crash, and Steiner said the way the car reacts on cold tires will have been a big learning experience for both.
“Both of them went onto the throttle too harsh and then went on the curb, or something like this,” he said. “These cars are so powerful, when the torque kicks in, you get a kick that you cannot (control) anymore.
“So I think this is down to making the experience. I do not think they will do that again. They will spin again, but not in the way they did. This was a new experience in a race, trying to fight with other cars and sometimes being a little too optimistic (with) how much traction you’ve got, or how much the car can take of power from the engine.”