Heading into his first season in F1, Nikita Mazepin says that his main job is to out-perform team-mate, Mick Schumacher.
Despite many calls for him to be dropped following a video of him groping a woman, 2021 will be the Russian’s debut season in the sport as he drives for Haas.
The American team opted to go all-rookie, pairing him with Formula 2 champion Schumacher, and he, believing that this is his “one shot” in F1, is focused on doing his job and beating the German.
“You know when you get into F1 there is almost one shot at it, I believe, and it has never been a consideration of how that would be for me,” he said as per GPFans.
“I had this opportunity come up. We decided to take it on and, regardless of what Guenther has said, I would say that my job is to outperform my team-mate, as always, and do the best I can.
“So the pressure is still there on my shoulders. I believe I am ready for F1 and I want to show it to the team first of all.”
While Mazepin’s final season in F2 was a strong one as he got two wins and four further podiums, he hugely struggled in his first, and that was the same case in Formula 3.
Because of this, he has developed a reputation for having poor rookie seasons, but he says external factors are partly to blame and is hoping to put an end to the trend in 2021,
“Obviously, being a racing driver, my goal and everyone’s goal is to perform at the highest possible level but it doesn’t always go your way, unfortunately,” he added.
“I would say that it’s not my approach definitely, however, racing in F3 and going to GP3, racing, in general, is a sport where there is more than one person involved.
“So, for me, perhaps the reason why results came a little bit later is that throughout my career I haven’t quite managed to put everything together – meaning my team, myself and my set up – to be able to deliver straight away. I needed more time.
“Going into F1 I hope that this will change.”