Haas drivers reflect on dramatic pair of Jeddah crashes, as team record first double DNF of 2021
Although they remain without points in 2021, Haas have been making strides forward in recent races as their rookie drivers continue to gain in experience. But Saudi Arabia proved to be a trying evening for the team, with both drivers winding up in the barriers in what was a very costly race – although fortunately, Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher both emerged unscathed from their crashes.
"Quite an impact," was how Mazepin described his crash, as he hit the back of George Russell’s Williams at the first restart, lifting the FW43B into the air before his Haas crunched into the barriers at speed. But despite Russell slowing dramatically, Mazepin saw the moment as very much a racing incident.
“I was fighting with [Lance] Stroll out of Turn 2. Turn 3’s always easy flat and it was meant to be for both cars. But all of a sudden the car in front, it was George, he braked, I also tried to brake but there’s no way to stop from over 200[km/h] to zero,” explained the rookie, who was able to climb out unaided after the crash despite the sizeable impact.
“Looking at the replay obviously, there was a car on the inside, [Russell] tried to avoid it himself but he was the last car, so he reacted on the high side and I just couldn’t avoid him, because the track was so narrow.”
As for Schumacher, his accident was instrumental in deciding the outcome of the race as it brought out first a Safety Car, and then the first of two red flag stoppages. But despite the ramifications, it all started in much more innocuous fashion for the German, who spun out of Turn 22 without any other cars involved.
“I was pushing a bit too much, trying to get back into the DRS window from George [Russell] and lost it going into Turn 22,” he explained ruefully. “The pace seemed to be there, we were comfortably keeping up with the Williams and I think that’s what we weren’t really anticipating. Therefore obviously [I was] highly motivated – and maybe a bit too much in that case.”
With two sizable crashes, it was an expensive evening for Haas – but their Team Principal Guenther Steiner was philosophical despite the team recording their first double DNF of the season. Describing it simply as “unfortunate”, Steiner was keen to look forward to Abu Dhabi and the ending of what has been a difficult season for the team, telling the media in Saudi Arabia: “One more to go – and then we move on!”