Haas team boss Guenther Steiner says the spin-prone Nikita Mazepin needs to “find the limit”, but suggests the Russian rookie might be trying “too hard”.
Mazepin earned the nickname “Maze-spin” in Bahrain following multiple gyrations suffered on his Grand Prix debut which was lasted on race day until the third corner when the Haas driver beached his car on the race’s opening lap.
Unfortunately, Mazepin upheld the pattern in FP1 at Imola on Friday, sinning on his installation and then again at the end of the session, but on that occasion hitting the barrier.
Steiner admits the mistakes are part of his driver’s steep learning curve but the Haas boss was hopeful that Mazepin will get on top of his errors at some point.
“At some stage, they [the spins] need to be reduced, but he’s trying very hard for that – and I guess he’s trying sometimes a little bit too hard,” said the Italian.
“He needs to find that limit. But that’s for him to find, not us. We can help him in doing that, but it’s one of these things that I’ve said before: learning is painful.
“It comes with pain, but at some stage that will hopefully stop and he will be in a good place.”
Steiner said the Haas’ difficult Vf-21 car was perhaps a mitigating factor for the young Russian which so far has fared a lot worse than teammate Mick Schumacher.
“In Bahrain, I would say that he had to learn also the wind conditions, and in Bahrain [they] were very rough,” explained Steiner.
“Our car was already last year very bad in wind conditions, so just to understand that, that caused a few spins, and Mick had one in the race as well.
“Obviously, we’re not planning to spin the car, but on the other side it’s part of the learning. So I don’t want to put a number or time on anything of this. This will sort itself out in my opinion.”
Read also: Steiner won’t try to ‘micromanage’ Haas rookies
Steiner reckoned it was too early to judge whether Mazepin’s promotion to F1 is proving too much of a step up for the former F2 racer.
“I think we jump to a conclusion too early,” added Steiner. “We are in our second FP1 this season, so to judge somebody on this, it’s a little bit early. But for sure in Bahrain he had a few spins.
“Maybe F2 to F1 is still a difficult step, but Bahrain was very difficult conditions as well. And him driving the Mercedes last year? I think he learned something.
“But also he has to learn our car is not as good as a Mercedes. I mean, I’m very open about that one. I’m not trying to hide that. For sure the Mercedes is a little bit less temperamental than our car.
“But again, I just can repeat, we are here and we have got the whole year to learn. Hopefully we haven’t got the whole year to spin, but we are here [to learn]. That is what we are trying to do this year.”
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