Pre-Season Testing: Day 1 RecapMarch 12, 2021
The first day of running for rookies Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, as pre-season testing got underway in Bahrain.
Date: Friday, March 12
Location / Layout: Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir / 5.412-kilometer (3.363-mile), 15-turn track
Drivers: Mick Schumacher (AM) / Nikita Mazepin (PM)
Laps / Distance: 15 laps, 81.18 kilometers (50.445 miles) / 70 laps, 378.84 kilometers (235.41 miles)
Best Lap Time: 1:36.127 (16th overall) / 1:34.798 (15th overall)
Fastest Lap: 1:30.674 by Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing
Most Laps: 139 laps by Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing
Mick Schumacher was first up behind the wheel of the Uralkali Haas F1 Team VF-21 on the opening day of Formula 1 pre-season testing Friday at the Bahrain International Circuit. The 21-year-old rookie would endure a somewhat frustrating morning session at the desert track as heat, dust and wind added to some early technical woes for the team. A hydraulic issue with just seven laps logged led to a lengthy delay in the garage for a gearbox change.
Schumacher returned in the final half hour of the session to grab a handful of laps before the checkered – running on the Pirelli C2 White tire exclusively in the morning. While the air temperature had topped 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) and the track temperature 43 degrees Celsius (109.4 degrees Fahrenheit), Schumacher’s last stint was compromised by the on-set of a sandstorm and accompanying winds – as well as a brief red flag stoppage for the stricken Scuderia Ferrari of Charles Leclerc. The best lap of Schumacher’s opening test session was a 1:36.127 – placing him 16th overall.
Track conditions proved no better when Nikita Mazepin took the wheel of the VF-21 for his maiden test run as the second session of the day got underway at 3 p.m. local time. Mazepin, also a Formula 1 rookie, recorded a solid 70 laps working his way through the afternoon run program – the 22-year-old accruing valuable mileage on the first of just three days of pre-season testing in Bahrain.
Mazepin sampled three different sets of Pirelli’s compounds on Friday starting off on the C2 White tire before progressing up to the softer C3 Yellow and C3 Prototype tires. It was on the C3 Yellow he set his fastest time – a 1:34.798 lap around the 5.412-kilometer (3.363-mile), 15-turn track to sit 15th on the timesheets. While there was no letup in the hunt for grip amidst the dusty conditions Mazepin ran through to the checkered flag as the session concluded under the floodlights at 7 p.m. local time.
Mazepin will be first out the garage tomorrow morning steering the VF-21 with Schumacher back in action in the afternoon’s second session.
Mick Schumacher - Car No. 47
“It was great to be in a Formula 1 car again, but obviously I’d have loved to have had more laps. It would have been great to get those laps in that we lost sitting in the garage due to the hydraulic issue. Fortunately, we got a few laps in at the end. I was happy to take them, happy to be in the car, and happy to push at times and try some things. Conditions weren’t great with a sandstorm coming in, but it was still valuable time in the car. It’s been very gusty here – it makes it very unpredictable; it can feel different from corner to corner really. That’s something you have to get used to. F1 cars these days are very wind-affected, any little gust of wind sets off the car massively. I think that’s why we saw quite a few spins and moments on track today. It’ll be interesting to see how it is tomorrow. Hopefully it’ll be better than today and we get to do a lot of laps.”
Nikita Mazepin - Car No. 9
“It’s been an amazing day to be honest. I was very fortunate to have a smooth afternoon. As we’ve seen with the first day of running, things don’t always go the way you planned – but it was important to get laps under our belt. It was also a very nice feeling to try the car for real after so much hypothetical build-up, and also what you plan to do can be very different in real life. The conditions have been rather challenging because of the amount of sand and wind that we’ve had. I’ve been to Bahrain a lot and never seen this much sand, it was challenging, but in this sport you don’t get to choose. All these factors have made for an interesting day and a very good learning day. I was also very happy with the physical side of things. Obviously, the graduation from F2 to F1 is rather big, but for a first day I’m very satisfied.”
Guenther Steiner - Team Principal
“We had a difficult start to our morning with a hydraulic systems issue on Mick’s car. He didn’t get a lot of laps, which isn’t ideal, but he got his first outing in the new car which is a good thing, and his feedback off those laps was good. Hopefully he’ll have a better day tomorrow, and we’re confident that will happen. In the afternoon with Nikita the car was working flawlessly. We got a good amount of laps in. The conditions this afternoon were very difficult considering this was the first time he was having a proper run in a Haas F1 car. His feedback was good, and he showed he started to understand our car. We just need to get as many laps in as we can over the next two days. We need to give the guys time in the car and keep growing together.”