Nikita Mazepin Q&A: Bahrain Grand PrixMarch 23, 2021
Nikita Mazepin looks forward to the Bahrain Grand Prix, where he will this weekend make his Formula 1 debut.
Describe your experience of working with the team now you’ve had the off-season to prepare and the pre-season test under your belt. What has surprised you the most on the team-side moving up into Formula 1?
“It’s been a great pleasure to be part of the team, especially in these difficult times when Covid restrictions don’t allow you to be present with them face-to-face all the time. We started the year working together using virtual platforms and then obviously I was able to get to England and meet everyone. I was extremely surprised at how high the motivation is in the team despite knowing that we’re going into a very difficult year. Everyone’s putting in the most effort they can.”
Has it sunk in yet that after all the preparation, the training, and pre-season testing - this is finally it, with Sunday heralding your first Grand Prix start?
“It hasn’t sunk in yet. Obviously, I’m aware it’s just literally a few days away now until the lights go out and the first race is underway. It’s pretty surreal because the waiting time has been very long. Hopefully everything will go smoothly, and I believe that I’m ready, so I’ve got nothing to be hesitant about.”
How does it feel to know you’ll be on the same grid as the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel? Do you view your first start in Formula 1 as both an accomplishment, in joining those illustrious names on the grid, but also just the beginning in terms of making your own mark in the sport?
“To be with these big names in Formula 1, to be sharing the same starting grid, is very humbling and very surreal. I’ve watched these guys race on TV and I’ve looked up to their achievements since I was very young. I’m a big fan of the sport itself, every Sunday I used to sit down in front of the TV and watch it. To be together with them is humbling, and hopefully racing with the best I can also learn as much as possible.”
Looking beyond Bahrain, and knowing the intensity of the planned 2021 Formula 1 23-race schedule - which events are you most looking forward to?
“I’m aware that the intensity is very high, it’s the busiest schedule that there’s ever been planned in Formula 1. I’m aware it’s going to be very difficult to keep the focus and keep in good shape throughout the whole year. But at this exact time, I’m so hungry for racing, and to just get started – nothing else is in my head apart from those positive thoughts.”