‘Mazepin tussle decided by development rate’

Michelle Foster
Mick Schumacher Haas

Mick Schumacher

Haas’ rookie versus rookie battle will see Mick Schumacher take on Nikita Mazepin this season with the German predicting an “interesting” tussle.

Haas have opted for an all-rookie line up in this year’s championship, the team using the 2021 season as a foundation for the youngsters.

But while team boss Guenther Steiner has vowed to give his drivers room to make mistakes and learn, he has warned them that they will “have a problem” on their hands if they come together on-track.

Last season Schumacher won the Formula 2 championship with Mazepin fifth in the standings. Both drivers took two wins apiece.

Schumacher was asked about the rivalry in a wide-ranging interview with Auto Motor und Sport.

“Nikita had a few good races last year,” he told the publication. “So it will be very interesting to see who is developing and how quickly.

“We are two newcomers. But we’ve spent a lot of years in junior categories. I am sure that if we work together, we can move the team forward.

“At the same time we as drivers have to develop at the same time so that you can see a difference from start to finish.”

Mick Schumacher Haas

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Schumacher, however, has never been fast out of the blocks.

He won the Formula 3 European Championship in his second season and also needed two years in Formula 2 to claim the title.

“I think it’s difficult to say that I’m a driver who can’t impress in the first year and who can do everything in the second year,” he said.

“It may look like this on paper, but if you take a closer look, the impression is deceptive.

“Especially in Formula 2, my first year wasn’t that bad. Which gives me the impression that I have the potential to be good right away.

“It happened that we had an extremely difficult tyre in Formula 2. So it took a while.

“Once I understood the tyre, I was always good at the various races if you take a few things into account, including bad luck.

“In general, I feel that I have the potential to convince in the first year. So I’ll do everything I can to get it done this season so I don’t have to wait for the second year.

“But of course: In the first year I will get used to certain things, and in the second year I will add something.

“It is important to me not to run into a dead end, but to develop further day by day. With the aim of getting faster and faster.

“Because that’s ultimately what it’s all about: being the fastest.”

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