Haas drivers need ‘quite different’ things from the car

Michelle Foster
Nikita Mazepin Mick Schumacher Haas

Nikita Mazepin Mick Schumacher

Haas are having to balance the needs of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin with the Russian driver needing more stability than his team-mate wants.

That’s according to chief race engineer Ayao Komatsu.

This season Haas are fielding an all-rookie line up with the 2021 season a year of learning for Schumacher and Mazepin.

Neither driver has got off the mark yet with Schumacher ahead of his team-mate in the standings, courtesy of his P13 from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Komatsu says both the drivers are coming along well in their development with Haas also learning in the process as the two drivers have “quite different” needs.

“Nikita likes much more stability, especially into high-speed corners, and Mick can deal with it,” Komatsu told Autosport.

“But then sometimes to look after the tyres in the race, we need to almost put more focus on having a car that is easy on tyres.

“So their requirement is actually quite different. It took some time for us to understand that.

“I think we are getting there in that sense. But one thing is to get the performance out for one lap, another thing is for the 300 kilometres on Sunday [with] tyre management.

“Mick is actually doing very well. He took a pretty good step recently.

“Nikita is getting there as well. He was a bit behind initially. Part of it is for us as well to understand how different, let’s say, a characteristic Nikita needs for him to be comfortable.

“We are still working on that. But then he’s improving as well. We’re just working continuously on that.”

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Komatsu was full of praise for Schumacher’s attitude over grands prix weekends, revealing that the German is walsy open to trying new things even if at first they don’t feel right to him.

“It was clear to all of us from the beginning that he is very, very open to all the ideas,” he said. “So if we tell him, ‘OK, let’s try this, why don’t we go into this direction?’, even when he doesn’t agree with that, he’s happy to try it.

“Whether it’s a car set up, or just the management, the driving style, for one lap, for race distance, he will always try it.

“Then that will give us a very good data. Whether it works or not work, either way, he did it, so that we got the data and feedback.

“All that openness and the willingness to try everything, and then be able to be constructive when the situation, like, I think it was Baku, where we had a car problem. His session was so discontinuous. Of course, I’m sure he was frustrated and angry in the car.

“But even then [he stayed] very calm, constructive, gave us amazing feedback. So when you work like that, it’s helpful to everyone.

“He made a big step in all areas, but [in] tyre management, I think he’s made a pretty big step in last few races.”