Nikita Mazepin says he will realise a “lifelong dream” when he races in Formula One in 2021 after Haas announced the signing of the Russian driver on a multi-year deal, starting from next season.
It has already been confirmed that Romain Grosjean, who escaped serious injury following a terrifying 140mph fireball crash in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix, and Kevin Magnussen will leave Haas at the end of this campaign.
The American marque revealed on Tuesday morning one of the vacancies will go to Mazepin, a two-time race winner in Formula Two. Mick Schumacher, the son of seven-time F1 world champion Michael, has been linked with the other seat.
“Becoming a Formula One driver is a lifelong dream come true for me,” Mazepin said.
“I really appreciate the trust being put in me by (owner) Gene Haas, (team principal) Guenther Steiner and the whole of the team. They’re giving a young driver an opportunity and I thank them for that.
“I’m looking forward to starting our relationship together, both on and off the track, and I’m naturally keen to continue to demonstrate my abilities after a strong Formula Two season.
“The team will be looking to me for feedback and inputs in order to refine its package for 2021 and beyond. I will take that responsibility on and can’t wait to get started.”
Moscow-born Mazepin has won at Silverstone and Mugello, while he has also had four additional podiums and two fastest race laps in his second year in F2 with British motor racing team Hitech Grand Prix.
Nikita Mazepin in @FIA_F2 in 2020 ⤵️
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) December 1, 2020
The 21-year-old will compete in the F2 finale in Bahrain this weekend before making the move to Haas.
“I’m delighted that Nikita Mazepin will be driving for Haas F1 team next season,” Steiner said.
“Nikita has underlined his credentials in Formula Two this year with a brace of victories and a handful of podiums in what’s been a strong sophomore season for him.
“I’m excited to see what Nikita can achieve in Formula One and we look forward to giving him the opportunity to compete at the highest level of world motorsport.”
Grosjean’s harrowing crash was the main talking point from last weekend’s race but Haas said on Monday the Frenchman’s hospital treatment on the burned hands he sustained was “going well”.
The 34-year-old gave a reassuring update on his condition, posting a photo on Instagram of himself doing squats with his hands bandaged.
The caption said: “Never thought that a few body weight squats would make me happy. Body recovering well from the impact . Hopefully same about the burns on my hands.
“Thank you again to everyone for the messages. Ps: still very slow at typing.”