Candidates who can change Nikita Mazepin in Haas

Candidates who can replace Nikita Mazepin in Haas

Nikita Mazepin’s F1 future is doubtful as US staff Haas weighs the potential for severing ties with the Russian driver and the sponsorship he brings along with his father’s firm Uralkali forward of the brand new season.

After Russia’s navy invasion of Ukraine final week, the staff eliminated the Uralkali branding from its automobile and motorhome on the final day of pre-season testing and stated it could look into the way forward for the deal this week. Nonetheless, Haas may make its determination on Mazepin if the FIA ​​follows the IOC’s advice to ban Russian athletes from taking part in worldwide sporting occasions.

With the primary race of the F1 season below 20 days away, Haas might want to transfer rapidly to discover a substitute for Mazepin if he leaves the staff. Under is an inventory of potential (and least probably) drivers who may fill the place alongside Mick Schumacher at Haas.

Pietro Fittipaldi

Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi, grandson of former world champion Emerson, seems to be the obvious different to Mazepin within the brief time period. Fittipaldi is the staff’s reserve driver, a task that exists in F1 just because groups typically want to switch a key driver. Fittipaldi will probably get some type of run within the Bahrain check subsequent week, though one thing full-time after that could possibly be an extension.

Fittipaldi’s second dash in F1 as reserve driver for Haas got here as a substitute for Romain Grosjean after the French driver’s main accident on the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix. Whereas his outcomes have been unremarkable, he parachuted briefly order and made no main errors.

Fittipaldi’s rise by way of the ranks sparked a whole lot of curiosity a couple of years in the past, however appeared to stall in his tracks in 2018 when he broke each legs whereas qualifying for the World Endurance Championship at Spa-Francorchamps. That price him his Indy 500 debut that yr with Dale Coyne Racing and he needed to wait till 2023 for an opportunity to come back again.

One factor towards Fittipaldi at this level is that there’s a extra apparent candidate with higher F1 pedigree to his identify.

Antonio Giovinazzi

Antonio Giovinazzi seems to be the very best fitted to Haas as a full-time substitute for Mazepin. Giovinazzi left Alfa Romeo final season however remained in Method 1 as a reserve driver for Ferrari, a task he shares with Mick Schumacher. Ferrari and Haas have an in depth relationship and placing Giovinazzi within the automobile could be simple and will include some additional incentives from Maranello.

Giovinazzi has had combined occasions in Method 1, however has proven some flashes of actual expertise, resembling ending fifth on the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix, in what would usually have been an uncompetitive Alfa Romeo. Giovinazzi’s downside was that these have been solely flashes and he did not present sufficient consistency to justify his keep, though he comfortably outperformed 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen final season as teammates.

Giovinazzi has publicly expressed his frustration with Alfa Romeo on a number of events final yr, and the Italian driver might excel in a distinct setting, particularly at a small staff like Haas. This goes each methods, as Giovinazzi will present Haas with some current F1 experiences that could possibly be very important with the brand new 2023 vehicles, that are anticipated to be considerably developed and improved through the season. Giovinazzi is anticipated to stand up pretty rapidly, particularly if he will get a day and a half of testing below his belt. This can be a step ahead from having entry-level drivers into 2023.

Giovinazzi can be a significantly better benchmark for Mick Schumacher than Mazepin up to now or it will likely be Fittipaldi – excellent news for Haas and excellent news for Ferrari as he continues to evaluate Schumacher’s rise by way of the ranks. The Italian is at present racing in Method E with Dragon Penske, however will probably have an exit clause in his contract if the F1 staff comes alongside.

Kevin Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen could be a well-liked candidate to return to F1 along with his outdated staff however ought to be thought-about a seat outsider.

Magnussen traveled to Haas between 2017 and 2020, however in the end did not have the assist to hold on past that regardless of being the sort Gene Haas would love of a troublesome racer. When Haas signed Schumacher for 2023, neither Magnussen nor his teammate Romain Grosjean may compete with the cash Mazepin and Uralkali introduced in for the staff for the opposite seat.

Finance has all the time been a problem for Magnussen regardless of his apparent expertise. He ran a solo IndyCar as a Felix Rosenqvist cease at Highway America final yr and have become an IMSA common with Chip Ganassi Racing. He’s additionally registered to compete on this yr’s World Endurance Championship for Peugeot Sport, which suggests he might not have the ability to return to Method 1 even when he needed to.

Whereas racing in sports activities vehicles, he usually talks about how a lot he enjoys the possibility to hit a racetrack with a successful automobile, so the prospect of returning to a staff that is perhaps on the finish of the F1 grid once more might not enchantment to him. Nonetheless, it is nonetheless Method 1, and Magnussen might not get one other likelihood for the ability to return to the racing seat on the prime of motorsport.

Regardless of his well-known outbursts from Haas boss Guenther Steiner on the Netflix sequence “Drive to Survive”, Magnussen left the staff in good circumstances and would naturally match into a well-known setting.

Oscar Bistrie

If the choice was made to advertise solely younger expertise, there could be just one candidate: Oscar Piastre.

Prior to now three years, the Australian has received three titles in Method Renault Eurocup, Method 3 and Method 2, which implies that the one logical step for 2023 was Method One. Nonetheless, with little motion within the driver market in 2023, there was just one likelihood for a rookie to hitch the grid this yr – at Alfa Romeo – and that seat went to one of many males who Piastre received the F2 title final yr, Guanyu Zhou.

The choice underscored the truth that cash speaks louder than expertise behind the F1 grid, which can be a potential consider why Piastri is just not thought-about a viable candidate to switch Mazepin. Piastri is backed by Alpine – which was unable to provide him a spot on its staff in 2023 resulting from present contracts with Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso – and it appears unlikely that the French staff can be hoarding money for a automobile in a. rival staff.

Nonetheless, the prospect of pitching Biastri towards Schumacher is puzzling. As the 2 latest F2 champions have promising careers forward of them, it could be nice to see which one is quicker in a head-to-head battle. Piastre will present Schumacher with stronger competitors than Mazepin did final yr, however it’s going to even be a chance for Schumacher to show his skeptics unsuitable by taking up an actual expertise of the identical era.

Nico Hulkenberg

No dialog about different drivers appears to have been full with out placing the identify Nico Hulkenberg into the combo. The 179-point Grand Prix veteran had a place to begin in 2020, when COVID-19 affected the staff’s drivers lineup on two separate events, judging Sergio Perez from two races at Silverstone and Lance Stroll exterior a race on the Nürburgring.

Hulkenberg impressed him on all three events (though he didn’t begin the British Grand Prix resulting from a pre-race automobile downside) and thus turned a candidate each time the query of substitute drivers was raised. Nonetheless, he’s at present contracted as a reserve driver for Aston Martin, so any negotiations with Haas must start with him getting him out of this contract earlier than the robust cash subject is raised as nicely. In consequence, he’ll nearly definitely not be part of Haas if Mazepin lose his seat.