Nikita Mazepin has revealed he has “enormous respect” for new team-mate Mick Schumacher, not only because of his performances on track but because of his nature off it.
Schumacher, the son of legendary seven-time champion Michael, and Mazepin have been recruited by Haas, reuniting a pairing that was first brought together as karting team-mates in 2013.
For now, at least, it is all smiles and when asked how he feels to be alongside his long-time rival, Mazepin said: “There are many individuals in motorsport and some are pretty difficult to be around with, but Mick is the complete opposite.
“I have enormous respect for him as a racing driver and I also like him a lot as a human being. I feel fortunate that he is my team-mate. I couldn’t choose it, but it’s nice to have a nice guy around you.”
Schumacher has revealed to being warned about Mazepin when they first competed. He said: “We had one race together and one of my team-mates said I had to be careful racing with [him] because combat wise he was quite aggressive.
“In 2014 we had a year when he was in K2 and I was in K3 and after that we always did some races together, some championships together.
"So I guess the respect is there. We are now going to be really working closely together so it will be interesting to see how it goes this year.”
Mazepin, who has admitted his biggest F1 idol was Schumacher’s father, believes the partnership with the next generation of the family could reap rewards and help backmarkers Haas fight its way forward.
The Russian driver added: “I think it’s a very good possibility for the team because when you don’t have any negativity and you’re just pushing forward it will help us be much higher up than we would have been on our own.”
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.