Nikita Mazepin: “The laps we did complete were positive”

Nikita Mazepin gave a track debut to the VJM11
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Nikita Mazepin did not get the distance he was hoping to during the opening day of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Monday, with a sensor issue and the weather restricting the Russian to just twenty-two laps.

The Sahara Force India F1 Team development driver was given the responsibility of debuting the new car on Monday ahead of race drivers Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez, but the sensor issue, which caused some brake cooling issues, coupled with the inclement weather conditions in Spain left the Russian eleventh fastest out of the twelve drivers to take to the track.

“We didn’t complete a huge number of laps today, but that’s often the case with a new car,” said Mazepin. “The laps we did complete were positive: the car felt pretty similar to last year but has clearly taken some good steps forward.

“We lost some of the afternoon resolving a sensor issue and then the weather deteriorated, which kept us in the garage.”

Mazepin revealed he was comfortable driving the VJM11 with the Halo head protection system, even if it meant he was forced to slightly lower his seating position to give him better visibility.

“I felt very comfortable with the halo, but I lowered my seating position compared to last year and the visibility was good,” said the Russian.