Formula 1
Formula 1
28 Mar
FP1 in
59 days
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
Race in
82 days
09 May
Next event in
100 days
23 May
Race in
117 days
R
Azerbaijan GP
06 Jun
Race in
131 days
13 Jun
Race in
138 days
27 Jun
Race in
152 days
04 Jul
Next event in
156 days
18 Jul
Race in
173 days
R
Hungarian GP
01 Aug
Race in
187 days
29 Aug
Race in
215 days
05 Sep
Race in
222 days
12 Sep
Race in
229 days
26 Sep
Race in
243 days
R
Singapore GP
03 Oct
Next event in
247 days
10 Oct
Race in
257 days
R
United States GP
24 Oct
Race in
271 days
31 Oct
Race in
278 days
R
Australian GP
21 Nov
Race in
299 days
R
Saudi Arabia GP
05 Dec
Race in
313 days
R
Abu Dhabi GP
12 Dec
Race in
320 days

Steiner responds to Mazepin pay driver criticism

shares
comments
Steiner responds to Mazepin pay driver criticism
By:

Haas Formula 1 boss Gunther Steiner has responded to criticism of the team taking the well-funded Nikita Mazepin by pointing out that even Niki Lauda paid to get into F1.

Mazepin was announced as a Haas driver for 2021 earlier on Tuesday, and while there has been no confirmation of the commercial arrangements, the logos of his father's Uralkali concern are expected to be seen on the car.

With several other sons of wealthy fathers landing seats on the grid inevitably there has been some scepticism about the choice on social media.

However Steiner insisted that it isn't unusual for talented drivers to benefit from financial support, and said that Mazepin has already proved his skills in F2, where he lies third in the 2020 championship.

"There's a lot of drivers who get into F1 thanks to financial backing," said Steiner. "There are very good drivers in F1 who in the beginning brought a sponsor.

"The first one to call is Checo [Perez]. Checo came to F1 and it was, 'He's a pay driver.' Look at Checo now, he finished on the podium, he's doing a good job.

"George Russell for me is one of the best drivers, but without the help of Mercedes he wouldn't be anywhere.

"There's a lot of them there – Lance Stroll, he was on the podium. If they are good in F2, and they have a sponsor, that's a perfect solution."

Steiner also cited his former Jaguar Racing colleague Lauda, who paid for his first two full seasons with March in 1972 and then BRM the following year, as recounted in the movie Rush.

"When I spoke with Niki a long time ago he said, 'I made it into F1 thanks to a bank which sponsored me, so I could go and buy a drive,'" said Steiner. "I think it was BRM at the time. And he was a three times world champion."

Steiner stressed that Mazepin's strong F2 form has qualified him for the drive.

"It's how you want to see it, if you want to see it as a positive or negative," he said. "It's the angle of how you want to look at it.

"If somebody is good, and he has financial backing, for sure he has a better chance than somebody who is as good and has no financial backer.

"Why would you choose that one with no financial backing? I think as long as they are good in F2, and Nikita is, he's lying third at the moment, I cannot doubt him. What else do you need to do?

"I followed him the whole season, what he was doing. For sure he had a difficult start, and without that difficult start, he would be fighting for the championship. So that is what I see, I can't see any more than that. Results always talk."

When challenged about following fellow wealthy sons Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi into F1 Mazepin himself pinpointed their abilities.

"So quite simply, I would say, you've pulled out two names, and I think there's 20 on the grid," said the Russian.

"What about them? They're very good professional racing drivers who have both achieved amazing results in their single-seater careers."

Related video

Todt made sure Grosjean spoke to wife in medical centre

Previous article

Todt made sure Grosjean spoke to wife in medical centre

Next article

Russell frontrunner to replace Hamilton at Mercedes

Russell frontrunner to replace Hamilton at Mercedes
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Nikita Mazepin
Teams Haas F1 Team
Author Adam Cooper