The Uralkali Haas F1 Team has struggled and languished at the bottom of the time sheets since the start of the season. For the two rookie drivers, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, it has been a steep learning curve driving the low grip Haas challenger.
Mazepin in particular has found it difficult to find the limits of the car and has been involved in spins and crashes. Friday practice was no exception as a Mazepin spin brought out the red flags at the end of the first practice session. Schumacher on the other hand had a steady run in both sessions.
Guenther Steiner, Haas F1 Team Principal, has has to deal with a lot of patience with his two rookie drivers as they learn the ropes of Formula 1. Steiner known for his colourful personality has to bear the brunt of the pressures as his team brings up the rear of the field.
Steiner was reasonably happy after the two practice sessions and said: “Not an unsuccessful FP1 and FP2. We had a few small bumps during the sessions but overall, I think our learning process with the drivers continues – we’re making steps forward. We’re getting faster, it’s not consistent faster, but improvements are being made. Obviously, Nikita (Mazepin) had a spin on his last lap, and it was on a pretty quick lap – a very fast lap, but he went off on the last corner.
“It was not ideal, and we lost some time in FP2 with him as we changed his gearbox just as a precaution and to check it out. When you do that you’re out of sync with other cars in FP2 and then your tires get cold and it’s a downhill spiral. So, that’s why his FP2 wasn’t ideal. Mick (Schumacher) overall did a good job to get the most out of his laps during the two hours of running he had today.”
Steiner will hope that both his drivers can qualify well and finish the race and make further progress in a tough season for the Haas F1 team.