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Why Mazepin is suffering with the blues in his debut F1 season

Why Mazepin is suffering with the blues in his debut F1 season

F1 News

Why Mazepin is suffering with the blues in his debut F1 season

Why Mazepin is suffering with the blues in his debut F1 season
Ian Parkes & Will Gray

Haas driver Nikita Mazepin has joked that blue is no longer his favourite colour due to the issues he has faced with blue flags throughout the course of his debut F1 season.

Mazepin believes the pace-sapping problems he has faced as a backmarker has dramatically increased the gap between himself and the midfield runners.

During the Monaco Grand Prix, Mazepin faced 35 blue flags, almost double the number of cars on the grid.

The Russian faced a similar situation in last weekend's Styrian GP given the short nature of the Red Bull Ring and will do so again in Sunday's Austrian GP at the same venue after qualifying at the back of the grid.

The compound effect of moving offline makes blue flags doubly devastating. Mazepin said: “I really liked blue before this F1 season. I have been wearing blue almost every day of my life.

“But in the race, if you just get caught by one car and then you slow down and you go on the marbles, you try to restart at a certain pace which is most of the time not the same as you were, and then you get caught again.

“You just fall into this very awful place. The worst thing is when an engineer tells you there are five cars, all together within two seconds of each other, all for blues, you need to slow down, and that’s what happened last weekend.

“It is the story of this year for me, unfortunately, and I think with a slight increase in pace we could find a lot of total race time because we would have less blues.

“It’s definitely a challenge to lose a little time as possible on it, but with the amount of practice we’ve been getting this year I am probably going to get good at it soon.”

Tsunoda learning to minimise time

Fellow rookie Yuki Tsunoda has had less experience of back-of-the-grid racing, driving an AlphaTauri, but he is still having to handle lots of blue flags and he feels that getting used to them is not easy.

For Tsunoda, delays through blue flags can be even more critical, as he is often fighting for the lower points positions when losing even a few tenths of a second can prove a crucial blow.

Tsunoda explained: “It depends on the track, but if we have blue flags we always lose time, especially last week’s situation, a lot of teams got blue flags and if you try to avoid the undercut, overcut, from other cars.

“You don’t want a blue flag because you will lose time and someone might overcut, so it’s a really bad situation but we always try to minimise the blue flag time but it’s really difficult.

“We don’t want to disturb the cars that are faster but also we want to fight for position. At the beginning of the season, I lost quite a bit of time, too much, but recently I got used to it, losing less time.”

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