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Nikita Mazepin, Uralkali Haas F1 Team
Nikita Mazepin, Uralkali Haas F1 Team

Nikita Mazepin looks ahead to this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix; it will be the first time he's raced at Intercity Istanbul Park.

We come to Round 16 of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, the Turkish Grand Prix, and a circuit you haven’t raced at before. How does that change preparation ahead of this weekend, especially following a string of races where you’ve known the track inside out?

“Turkey will be an interesting experience because I haven’t raced there yet. I probably won’t get the simulator time and it will be a steep learning curve experience but nevertheless, it’s nice to visit there. This is the track that I came to for my first ever Grand Prix as a child – my dad took me there – in Ferrari hospitality, when I was seven or eight years old. Memories will come to me and I’m looking forward to it.”

 

Although you haven’t raced around Istanbul Park, it’s a track that has garnered lots of admiration throughout the years, with many seeing similarities with Spa-Francorchamps and Interlagos. Along with turn eight – a very fast left-hander that has created lots of action – where else do you expect opportunities to climb the field?

“From what I know about Turkey, the grip level hasn’t been great, but Formula 1 cars have the tendency to improve the more you use the track. I’m hoping it will be a fun place. Formula 1 tracks are so high level with Formula 1 and FIA at the moment, that it should be good to drive.”

 

Turkey borders both Asia and Europe, and this race marks the last time this season we are set to race in Europe before a tour of the Americas and Asia. How would you summarize this leg of the season and is there a different feel to flyaway races compared to when many drivers choose to stay in motorhomes close to the circuit?  

“The first part of the season has been good. It’s been a learning curve but an upwards one which is a good thing. The way this season has unfolded, I think has been positive because as a racing driver, if you race in Europe first like you did in Formula 2, there are fewer things you need to acclimatize to and learn. I feel ready to move on and explore new tracks, explore the world, and start to get to proper work with time zones, heat acclimatization etc. so I’m looking forward to it.”

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