Let's talk about these new developments, shall we?
There have been a few developments from Haas's end since the release of my last article, "Let's Talk About Haas, Baby." I felt it would be proper to revisit this topic and highlight the latest news from Haas. I've also recently made a video on this topic, now up on my YouTube Channel (ChevyTalksP1).
Latest Developments From Haas
In my last article, I mentioned that Haas' 2021 lineup would most likely consist of one veteran driver and one rookie driver- specifically, Sergio Perez and Nikita Mazepin (current F2 Driver). It was because around this time, the news was circulating information that Haas most likely wouldn't sign two rookie drivers. The idea was that Haas needed more support in the form of finances, and Perez and Mazepin would have been the best fit. With this predicted lineup, Mick Schumacher would have then proceeded to drive for Alfa Romeo, with Antonio Giovinazzi retiring. However, this is not at all how things panned out. Alfa Romeo announced they were retaining the Raikkonen/Giovinazzi lineup for another season, now narrowing Mick's options and unfortunately, removing Ilott from the equation.
It is now looking like a very solid lineup of two rookie drivers- Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin. Sergio Perez has not been confirmed, and with Ilott testing for Alfa Romeo at Abu Dhabi, it doesn't quite seem like Ilott is in Haas' prospects. Sources that have alluded to Schumacher and Mazepin signing for Haas include PlanetF1, EssentiallySports, and Sky Sports. Sky Sports did indeed reveal that the deal was most likely "sealed" during one of the recent races. Given that Sky Sports has more access to insider information, one can reasonably assume that the Schumacher-Mazepin lineup is happening. Again, this has not been officially announced or confirmed by anyone at Haas to my knowledge.
Mick Schumacher's and Nikita Mazepin's Racing Careers
To understand what these two drivers bring to the table, it's important to understand what each of their individual careers look like.
https://www.autosport.com/f3/news/137682/schumacher-takes-first-f3-win-at-spa, “Mick Schumacher takes first European Formula 3,” Marcus Simmons
- Mick started karting in 2008 using his mother's maiden name "Betsch" to avoid public attention, though people were still able to identify that it was Michael Schumacher's son.
- He finished 2nd in the German Junior Kart Championship in 2014, racing under the name "Mick Junior."
- Mick then started officially racing in the formula classes, making the switch from Vans Amersfoorst Racing to Prema Powerteam. He then finished runner-up in the Italian F4 Championship.
- He made his first appearance in the Formula 3 series during the MRF Challenge in India, taking 4 wins, 9 podiums, and 2 pole positions.
- In 2017, Mick made his official debut in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, finishing 12th.
- In 2018, Mick turned around and paved his way towards a career filled with success. He was sitting at 10th place, 67 points behind the leader. After a win at Spa-Francorchamps, he continued to set 7 more wins. Mick ended the season as Champion, with 8 total wins, 14 podiums, 7 poles, and 4 fastest laps.
- He made his official F2 Debut in 2019, still racing with Prema and alongside teammate Sean Gelael. Similar to F3, Mick had a rough start to his drive. He finished 12th in 2019 after several unfortunate incidents.
- Come 2020, Mick is now racing with teammate Robert Shwartzman. Mick had a double podium in Hungary, and then 5 consecutive podiums from Spain to Monza. He had a feature race win at Sochi, as well as a 3rd place finish in the sprint race.
Schumacher is currently leading the F2 standings, 22 points ahead of Callum Ilott.
https://www.autosport.com/f2/news/140372/art-gp3-runnerup-mazepin-graduates-to-f2, "GP3 runner-up Nikita Mazepin graduates to F2 for 2019 with ART," Valentin Khorounzhiy
- Mazepin started out in the early 2010s, even going on to win 2nd in the CIK- FIA World Championship in 2014.
- During the 2014 - 2015 season, he finished 10th at the MRF Challenge. This was the same challenge Schumacher competed in, only about a year later.
- 2015 saw Nikita compete in the Formula Renault 2.0 North European Cup where he finished 12th. Overall, 2015 was not a super great year for him. He raced for two teams during this year- Josef Kauffman Racing for Formula Renault and ETEC Motorsport for the Toyota Racing series in New Zealand, where he finished 18th out of 21.
- In 2016, Mazepin started competing for Hitech GP in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. He finished 20th in this season, but did much better the following season in 2017. - Nikita won 3 podiums and finished 10th in 2017.
- GP3 2018 is when Nikita finished 2nd in the championship, securing 4 wins, outperforming Callum Ilott and finishing behind the beautiful Anthoine Hubert.
- In 2019, he made his F2 Debut alongside Nyck De Vries for Art Grand Prix. Mazepin finished 18th.
- Mazepin then signed with Hitech Grand Prix, where he finished 3rd in the FIA F3 Asian Championship alongside teammate Luca Ghiotto.
Mazepin is currently 6th in the F2 Standings.
Though several people are against Mazepin's entry into F1 because of his stats as well as his temperament, it is worth noting that Mazepin had a 10 place increase from 20th to 10th during his F3 season. That's not entirely far from Schumacher's increase. Where Schumacher climbed 12 places up from 12th to Champion, Mazepin was able to increase by a similar increment. This means that both drivers are skilled at showing solid improvement.
Predictions For The Future
Mick's predicted route is most likely going to be from Haas to Ferrari. He is an FDA Driver, and his dad drove for Ferrari as well. A Schumacher in a Ferrari is what the world of motorsport yearns to see again. The question is, "how?" There are several different ways as to how Mick will make his way to Ferrari. One of the ways I played it out in my head followed as such: Callum Ilott becomes Alfa Romeo's Reserve Driver, and then fills in one of the Alfa seats after Giovinazzi or Raikkonen retires. Then, Carlos Sainz is moved from Ferrari to the second Alfa seat after the previous Alfa driver retires. Alfa Romeo's lineup would then look like Ilott-Sainz. After this, the person in the previous Alfa Seat, so either Giovinazzi or Raikkonen, would be moved to Haas with Mazepin while Mick would move up to Ferrari (partnering Charles Leclerc). Again, this is just one possible scenario. There are several different ways this could go, but this was just one way I thought it out in my head as to how Mick could possibly end up at Ferrari in the coming years.
FIA Super License Points
The most interesting thing I took away from this was that of the FIA Super License. In 2018, the FIA introduced a new rule where drivers would need 40 points, be over the age of 18, and hold a driver's license in their home country to be eligible for an F1 seat. This was because Max Verstappen, who currently races for Red Bull, was too young. He was only 16 when he signed with Red Bull, and 17 when he made his debut- making Verstappen the youngest driver to sign with an F1 team. If you’d like more specifics on all the super license rules, be sure to check out the International Sporting Code, Appendix L, on the FIA website. Mick Schumacher currently has his necessary points, according to the kind people who've put together sources for super license points. There are no published sites or resources by the FIA with the official super license points, to my knowledge. I used a table made by u/rockotdf from Reddit. According to these statistics, Mazepin only has 33 points. This brings up the question- if Mazepin is 7 points behind 40, how can he be eligible for the F1 seat? The FIA decided to bring in some new regulations due to the interesting year they've had for racing. Since there have been fewer races due to the coronavirus, the FIA has now announced that 30 points is enough for a driver to be eligible. This is if they can properly make the claim that the virus has indeed impacted their career. I’m not quite sure if this will be temporary or permanent, but this gives reason for Mazepin’s eligibility.
Sergio Perez's Future In F1
It's quite unfortunate that a driver who had a podium recently and is currently 4th in the Drivers' Championship standings is out of a seat for F1 next year. Perez has still not been confirmed by any team, which makes his future in F1 look increasingly bleak with each passing day. This can either go one of two ways: either Perez isn't signed to any F1 team and takes a break. He then makes a return to F1 in the future, like Fernando Alonso is for next year. The second way is if Perez gets the AlphaTauri drive instead of Yuki Tsunoda if Daniil Kvyat isn't confirmed. In this scenario, Red Bull would retain Alex Albon. Tsunoda could benefit from another year in F2, but he is also currently 3rd in the F2 standings. Tsunoda also recently tested for AlphaTauri. Taking this into consideration, it seems as if Perez's only way of staying in Formula 1 is if he either gets the Red Bull drive or the AlphaTauri drive- given that he most likely isn't getting a Haas seat.
No one can predict how the completed driver lineup for all teams will look with certainty- every claim made by every news outlet, content creator, and fan will have some degree of speculation associated with it. For now, all we can do is wait. What are your thoughts on the season? How do you think Red Bull's final decision will look? If you'd like more content, I'm also on YouTube as ChevyTalksP1.