AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost didn't have kind words to say about Nikita Mazepin, who will be making his debut alongside Mick Schumacher at Haas. In a recent interview with German publication Auto Motor und Sport, when questioned about Nikita Mazepin, Tost remarked, "Of course I could get brutal again and say you can’t make a tiger out of a cow! In the end, it always depends on how much brain a driver has and then switches on in the cockpit.”
"In my long time in motorsport, I have found that, in the end, only drivers who are intelligent and know why they are doing something, will prevail."
Nikita Mazepin's rocky start in Formula One
Nikita Mazepin is yet to make his debut in Formula One but his off-track antics have kept the young Russian in the limelight. He had to issue a public apology last year for his inappropriate behavior online.
Mazepin's on-track antics have also proved unpopular, which include slapping teammate Calum Illot following a race incident.
How good is Nikita Mazepin?
Nikita is the son of Russian billionaire Dmitry Mazepin, who had made a failed attempt at taking over Force India (which would eventually be bought by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll).
However, if we delve deeper, Mazepin had an impressive F2 season last year. Mazepin finished the season fifth in the standings with two race wins, the same as Mick Schumacher, his teammate at Haas this year, and one less than Yuki Tsunoda, the third rookie lining up on the grid at Alpha Tauri.
Mazepin has competed and grown as a driver alongside Mick Schumacher throughout the junior categories, and the German, while talking to Auto Motor und Sport, said the tussle would be decided based on the development rate of both the drivers.
Mazepin, with two wins during his stint in Formula 2, has shown that he has the pace to hang with the best. But will he have the temperament? We'll have to wait and watch.