Haas promise better comms after Mazepin incident

Date published: May 4 2021 - Henry Valantine

Nikita Mazepin, Haas

Guenther Steiner says Haas will improve their radio messages to their drivers when they’re about to be lapped, after Nikita Mazepin’s near-miss on Sunday.

The team principal made the promise after the Russian driver almost collided with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, when the Mexican came up to lap the Haas in the Portuguese Grand Prix.

An accident between the two could have scuppered Perez’s eventual P4 finish at Portimao, leading to potential ramifications in the Constructors’ Championship.

A five-second penalty for Mazepin was administered as a result, but this proved to be immaterial as the Russian was well behind the rest of the field by that point regardless.

“I think his blue flag light came on very late, and he was already past Turn 2 when the light came on,” Steiner explained, per Autosport.

“So, obviously, we need to improve communication when you come out of the pits and somebody is coming.

“I think the thing was not intentional and nothing bad happened in the end. You know it never looks good, but the five seconds [penalty] I don’t think made a big difference.

“In the end, I think Checo accepted that one, you know. He [Nikita] apologised to him. He said: ‘Hey it was genuinely a mistake, there was no intention of anything’. So these things happen.”

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F1 race director Michael Masi confirmed that Mazepin’s penalty came as a result of nearly causing a collision with Perez rather than ignoring instructions to be lapped, as the blue flags had only just begun to be shown to the Haas driver.

“With Nikita’s penalty, it wasn’t so much the number of blue flags that were ignored, it was more so the incident which was shown on the broadcast with Sergio at Turn 3, and the near-collision that was caused under blue flags,” Masi explained.

“It wasn’t actually for a number of panels, it was more for the not effectively getting out of the way at the earliest opportunity, and nearly causing an incident as a result.”

Elsewhere, Mick Schumacher spoke about the improvements he has made in his early races after putting in an impressive performance to pass the Williams of Nicholas Latifi in the race, while driving a slower car.

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