After months of speculation Haas have finally announced at least part of their 2021 line up, confirming Nikita Mazepin in a multi-year deal.
His team-mate has yet to be named with Mick Schumacher expected to take the seat.
Haas revealed last month that it would have a completely new line up for the 2021 season, parting ways with Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.
At the time team boss Guenther Steiner revealed he would be open to an all rookie line up, saying it comes with both “risk and opportunity”.
Haas have decided it is worth it.
The team has confirmed Mazepin with the Schumacher announcement expected to follow sooner rather than later.
“I’m delighted that Nikita Mazepin will be driving for Haas F1 Team next season,” Steiner said.
“Nikita has underlined his credentials in Formula 2 this year with a brace of victories and a handful of podiums in what’s been a strong sophomore season for him.
“He’s developed into a mature racer moving up through the junior ranks – notably most recently in the GP3 Series, where he finished runner-up in 2018, and obviously in Formula 2 over the past two seasons.
“I’m excited to see what Nikita can achieve in Formula 1 and we look forward to giving him the opportunity to compete at the highest level of world motorsport.
“With a record-setting 23 race schedule set for the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, he’s going to get plenty of track action to learn all the nuances of grand prix racing.”
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) December 1, 2020
Mazepin is perhaps a controversial choice having beaten Callum Ilott to the Haas seat despite being behind the Brit in the standings.
Mazepin’s billionaire father Dmitry Mazepin has been linked to a buy-out of the Haas team with speculation that his Uralchem Chemicals Company will now step in as a major sponsor.
Mazepin is determined to prove he deserves a Formula seat.
“Becoming a Formula 1 driver is a lifelong dream come true for me, ” said the 21-year-old driver.
“I really appreciate the trust being put in me by Gene Haas, Guenther Steiner, and the whole of the team. They’re giving a young driver an opportunity and I thank them for that.
“I’m looking forward to starting our relationship together, both on and off the track, and I’m naturally keen to continue to demonstrate my abilities after a strong Formula 2 season.
“The team will be looking to me for feedback and inputs in order to refine its package for 2021 and beyond. I will take that responsibility on and can’t wait to get started.”