American team treats 2021 as a transition year to 2022, choosing not to develop its car throughout the season.
We are entering the final stretch of the launch of the 2021 Formula 1 car and this Thursday (04) it was the turn of Haas, who disclosed the identity of the VF-21, which will be guided by Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin in a year that promises to be a transition for the North American team.
The VF-21 is basically the same car as last year, with little news. Haas chose not to spend the development chips and enters 2021 to “comply with the table”. The team has already made it clear that its goal for this year is to spend a good part of the budget and hours in the wind tunnel to develop the 2022 model, believing that it may be the way out to rejoin the middle squad.
And during the F1 vacation, Haas had to face yet another crisis, with the delay in building its new car due to the pandemic. Restrictions on entry into the UK meant that technicians at Ferrari, an engine supplier to Haas, we’re unable to enter the country to work on the installation of the power unit. With that, the car will be started only for the pre-season in Bahrain.
The company of Mazepin’s father, Uralkali, in the area of fertilizers, becomes the new master sponsor of Haas, which led to the change in the colors of the car, which now adopts a “Russian” painting.
“I am delighted to welcome Urakali to Formula 1 as a master sponsor of Haas,” said Gene Haas, owner of the team. “We can’t wait to represent your brand this season. It’s an exciting time for the team with the arrival of Urakali and Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher as our drivers.”
“It is a complete change, but I hope we can fight for points in some races. It has been a difficult season, but we are also looking at the whole, particularly 2022 and the arrival of the new regulation.”
“I echo Haas’ comments and we are happy with the new partnership for this season and beyond,” said team chief Gunther Steiner. “We have arrived at the new season with a new master sponsor and two drivers, so it will be an exciting year, I hope only on the positive side.”
“We will have a year of learning with the pilots as we look to the future. It is no secret that the VF-21 will not be developed and our focus is on 2022 and what we hope will be a more level grid.”
“We all know what to expect this year in terms of competition, but we need to make sure that we take advantage of the opportunities when they arise. But first, we have to put people to the test. There will be little contact with the car, but I can’t wait to see the development of the Haas pilots and team “.
Despite the ban on the use of the Russian flag at world sporting events for two years, after a decision by the Arbitral Sports Tribunal regarding the doping cases of the Sochi Olympics in 2014, Haas confirmed that the car’s paintwork was approved by the FIA. On the other hand, Mazepin will have to run under a neutral flag for the next two years.
Haas is betting on two newcomers for this season, ending the long-standing relationship with Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen. The first driver is Mick Schumacher. Son of the seven-time champion and current F2 champion, the German was instrumental in strengthening Haas’ relationship with Ferrari.
And Schumacher’s preparation for his debut also ran into problems. Because of the pandemic, he was able to go to the Haas factory for the first time just a few days ago to start his training for the season.
Schumacher will have Russian Nikita Mazepin at his side, a name that has already caused controversy in the paddock even before his debut. After the case of the video, in December last year, Mazepin became the target of criticism from F1 fans on social networks, who asked for the termination of his contract. But the team has been constantly reaffirming its permanence.
For being an atypical year for the team, Steiner said that, inside the tracks, the goal is to help train new drivers, as they will have an environment without the pressure to deliver results.
It is worth remembering that the Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi continues as a reserve and test pilot for Haas for the third consecutive year. Last year, Pietro replaced Grosjean at the Sakhir and Abu Dhabi GPs and was highly praised by Gunther Steiner.