Nikita Mazepin Q&A: Portuguese and Spanish GPsApril 27, 2021
Looking back you had the chance to experience Pirelli’s Cinturato Blue and Green extreme wet and intermediate tires in Italy – but without the luxury of it being in a test or practice session. As a rookie, how much of a challenge was it to experience a Formula 1 car in the wet immediately in race conditions?
“It was a big challenge, because obviously in the race nobody is taking it step-by-step or taking it easy, everyone’s pushing to the absolute maximum from the beginning. Therefore, without any practice, you can only guess the trajectory and the line. I’m just one of 20 drivers on the grid, and one of the three rookies, who had to deal with the same conditions – I think everyone was kind of equal there.”
Two races in, two very different circuits and conditions faced through Bahrain and Italy. Information comes thick and fast in Formula 1. How big is the jump coming from Formula 2 in terms of the data you have to analyze and the time you have to process it as a driver in Formula 1?
“It’s very big. I would say the amount of data that you’re able to collect in Formula 1, it’s probably triple or quadruple that of what you can get in Formula 2. So, it’s a part of your growth, in racing terms, to be able to understand this information and be in control of it.”
Back-to-back race weekends offer little opportunity for reflection with the demands involved of moving on to the next race. As a driver how do you prepare for the intensity of back-to-back races – is it simply a case of the more track time the better for you?
“I don’t change my approach. I love racing, I love what I do, and I’m very fortunate to be doing this as my job. Back-to-back weekends and the season getting intense is something that I’m massively looking forward to this year. I can’t say I’ve had this in the past, but I just have a good feeling about constantly driving and driving to get better at what I do.”
What experiences do you have of testing or racing at Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal and what are the specific characteristics of the circuit you need to be aware of in a Formula 1 car there?
“One of my first tests in a formula car was in Portugal at this track. I haven’t been there in over seven years, maybe eight if I’m a little mistaken, but this track is a special one. It’s a spectacular one to watch on television, and when you’re in the car you’re constantly going up and down – it’s like a rollercoaster. I’m looking forward to getting out there.”
Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya is a track familiar to you, most notably from the past two seasons competing in Formula 2. How much of an advantage for you is it to be heading to a circuit you’re familiar with? Does it simply provide a degree of confidence having that track familiarity or does it accelerate your thoughts on things like set-up, car balance etc?
“It’s rather nice to be going to a circuit that you’ve raced at in the past few years. You know your braking marks, all your points, things like where to go on power and where to slow down. It definitely drops a few challenges, but at the same time I raced in Formula 2 with all the guys who are going there, so everyone will be feeling the same. But I’m not really paying much attention to those things this year. I’m just enjoying my time and the steps we’re making forward with the team.”