2021 Performance Review: Haas

Updated: Feb 9

Written by Sasha MacMillan, Olly Radley, Tom Evans, Thomas Bergamo, Morgan Holiday, Danny Jones, Edited by Harshi Vashee


The exciting 2021 season of Formula One has come to an end, leaving us all speechless. Today, our team of writers will be reviewing the Haas drivers’ 2021 season. But before that, let’s take a look back at Haas’ season.

An overview of Haas’ season


2021 was clearly a tough year for Haas. They put very little focus into their car development over the winter, and came to Bahrain expecting to be the slowest. They’ve put 100% focus and resources into their 2022 car, with hope building that they’re going to make a big step.


On track in 2021, no points came, with their two drivers both being involved in a number of accidents, racking up many millions of dollars in damages. In qualifying sessions that they both set a time in, Mick out-qualified Nikita 20-0. Mick himself managed to haul himself out of Q1 and into Q2 twice, in France and Turkey. These were the real highs of Haas’s season, as proven by the joy and jubilation that was shared on the radio between Schumacher, and his well-appreciated race engineer, Gary Gannon.


The  team’s highest race finish was Schumacher’s 12th place in a chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix, in which he enjoyed a fierce battle with Max Verstappen’s badly damaged Red Bull. Overall, 2021 was a dull season for the American outfit, unable to compete with other teams on anything near a consistent basis, but the level of work and focus placed upon 2022 gives Haas plenty of reason to be hopeful. 


Sasha


Mick Schumacher: As mentioned above, Mick failed to score points with 12th being his closest effort in Hungary. His two Q2 efforts were impressive feats, and throughout the year he was consistently quicker than his teammate, sometimes by quite large margins. The downside to his year was being so accident-prone, with notably hefty accidents in Monaco, Hungary and Saudi Arabia. He cost the team millions of dollars, and ruined two qualifying sessions without needing to. Overall, a positive year of learning and impressive pace, yet far too many mistakes made. 

My Season Rating of Mick Schumacher: 6.5/10


Best Race: Turkish Grand Prix – Comfortably got into Q2 by more than three tenths of a second, out-qualifying his teammate by a huge 2.9 seconds.

Nikita Mazepin: A very poor year from the Russian, who surrounded himself in controversy long before the season began, making him far from a fan-favourite. Pace-wise, he was often quite close to Mick, but at times was also much slower. The only threat he posed to Mick was as a danger to battle with, Baku being an example of dangerously aggressive manoeuvres that so nearly ended in tears. They also came together on the first lap of the Silverstone Sprint Race, sending Mazepin spinning. Unlucky to miss the final race with COVID-19, but overall a very poor and unimpressive year from the Russian. 


My Season Rating of Nikita Mazepin: 3.5/10


Best Race: Monaco Grand Prix – A difficult one to pick, yet he was quicker than his teammate throughout practice, with Mick’s FP3 crash not giving us the final answer. Finished ahead of his teammate in the race and didn’t make any mistakes as a rookie in Monaco. 


Danny


Mick Schumacher: It’s difficult to truly get an understanding of Mick Schumacher’s performances in 2021. Rookies are unlikely to show the true representative pace of a car, but Schumacher’s trouncing of Mazepin suggests that he has been excelling in the VF21. Has he been a star of the season…. no, his heavy, and regular, accidents have cost Haas in excess of 4 million, and although we saw flashes of brilliance, he hasn’t quite matched the hype on his shoulders, but this is in an unrepresentative car, and if Haas’ 2022 development focus pays off, he can unleash all his ability.


My Season Rating of Mick Schumacher: 6/10


Best Race: Portuguese Grand Prix – Although he finished a lowly 17th, Schumacher was able to battle and even overtake the much stronger Williams machine of Nicholas Latifi, and had a gap of over a minute to his teammate.


Nikita Mazepin: Mazepin’s 2021 season was far from satisfactory. An embarrassing debut in Bahrain was not the introduction required, but things could only go up from there. Mazepin struggled with the unpredictable VF21 at first, similarly to Schumacher, which led to repetitive errors in the opening rounds of the season. However, it must be noted Mazepin has been making steady progress, he is starting to challenge Schumacher a bit more, and his previously regular mistakes are becoming few and far between. But, he was outclassed by Schumacher and looked out of his depth in the first few rounds of 2021, and even though we saw true skill in his incredible overtakes on Schumacher in Britain and Brazil, he certainly has not been up to scratch so far, and has had a poor rookie season.

My Season Rating of Nikita Mazepin: 3/10


Best Race: Monaco Grand Prix – Probably the only weekend of the year he seemed to have a pace advantage on Schumacher, but was never truly recognised due to the German’s FP3 crash, but beat him in the race, a rare occurrence for the Russian.


Morgan


Mick Schumacher: Mick Schumacher’s rookie season could best be described as a learning curve. It’s hard to fairly judge talent when you’re new to Formula 1 and you’re driving what was by far the worst car on the grid. It wasn’t an easy ride for Schumacher, who made plenty of mistakes and was never quite on pace with the other teams on the grid. But judge him up against his teammate, and you’ll see that he looked prominently better than Mazepin throughout the whole season. On top of that, two Q2 appearances (one on merit), in a car that could barely stay on the road, is an impressive accomplishment and on the whole Schumacher spent the year learning about Formula 1 and how it works.


My Season Rating of Mick Schumacher:6/10


Best Race: Hungarian Grand Prix – Helped by the wild circumstances of the race, Schumacher spent a good portion of the Grand Prix in the points. Being in the much slower car, he eventually fell back to 12th, but did well to keep the pace as long as he could.



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Nikita Mazepin: Nikita Mazepin has not had the ideal rookie season. After his controversial signing by Haas, low expectations were made even lower when a mistake put him out of his debut Grand Prix less than four corners in. It’s fair to say it’s not all on Mazepin, when many of his failures must be chalked up to the car he and his teammate had to drive throughout the season. Haas had the worst package by far, and even though signing two rookies did nothing to help them, both drivers struggled to keep the car on the track most races, which had nothing to do with their abilities. But comparing him to his teammate, it still must be said that Mazepin did not perform to the same standards as Schumacher and the fact that he couldn’t keep up with him most races means we must consider this season as a write off.


My Season Rating of Nikita Mazepin: 3/10


Best Race: British Grand Prix – Mazepin made a mistake going into turn 1 of the race at Silverstone, but managed to stay on the pace of his teammate and eventually made a good pass to finish ahead of Schumacher.


Olly

Mick Schumacher: Mick Schumacher’s first Formula One season was one of the most anticipated debuts for obvious reasons, and to be fair to Mick, he handled the pressure fairly well. Obviously there were a few minor quibbles throughout the season and incidents were a regular occurrence for the German. However, Mick dealt with the tools that were given to him, having driven something more reminiscent of a boat than an F1 car. Now that Mick has established himself as a consistent driver, he can look to really impress in the Haas in 2022. I guess you could say ‘21 is a solid base to build off of.


My Season Rating of Mick Schumacher: 6/10


Best Race: Turkish Grand Prix – While I’ve chosen Turkey, it isn’t actually for his performance in the race, but instead in qualifying on Saturday. Mick managed to prop his Haas car into Q2, knocking veteran Daniel Ricciardo out in the first session as well the Alfa Romeos and Latifi, who were all in far better machinery. His ecstatic reaction on the team radio showed just how much it meant to him, celebrating it like a race win.

Nikita Mazepin: Now there isn’t much to say for Nikita Mazepin, other than the fact he has had a torrid time in his first F1 season both on and off track. It only took fans 1 race to create a website that tracks every time he spins, hailing him “Maze-spin”. Obviously, like Mick, the car he was given was sub-par to put it lightly but with Mick as his only benchmark, you can’t really say he did well with the car. On average in qualifying, Nikita was over 8 tenths slower than Mick, which in F1 is an incredibly large gap and nothing to be proud of. I can’t help but feel that Nikita may not be stressed with his Formula 1 future almost guaranteed with the Haas team which is heavily backed by guess who… Dmitry Mazepin, his father.

My Season Rating of Nikita Mazepin: 2/10


Best Race: Brazilian Grand Prix – Brazil came across as a very mentally tough weekend for Nikita. Having made a costly mistake on his final qualifying run, he started last and began to tear up in interviews out of pure disappointment in himself. At a track he’d never been around before, Nikita drove a very mature and strong race, battling hard and fairly with other drivers and making an incredible overtake on teammate Mick Schumacher. While Nikita often doesn’t show his great qualities, Brazil was a fine example of the potential Nikita has. 


Thomas


Mick Schumacher: Mick Schumacher had a great season but with Haas’ messed up car this year, he can only be compared to his teammate: Nikita mazepin. Between them, the German had better pace all the season and sometimes he battled against stronger cars like the Williams.


My Season Rating of Mick Schumacher: 6.5/10


Best Race: French Grand Prix – The way he put the car in Q2 was just amazing. The car wasn’t good, overall in that period, but he managed to pass through Q2. Unfortunately this joy was contrasted by a crash he had twenty seconds before the session ended.


Nikita Mazepin: Nikita had not the most promising season. He was one of those drivers who was targeted by the fans because he was a “paying driver”. He admitted that he suffered from these insults, and this contributed to a loss of concentration. In comparison to Mazepin’s teammate, Mick Schumacher, his season was unimpressive. So I can say that was an underwhelming season.


My Season Rating of Nikita Mazepin: 4.5/10


Best Race: Monaco Grand Prix – Monaco GP was, in my opinion, his best GP. He started P19 but in the race he managed a brilliant P17, beating his teammate. 


Tom


Mick Schumacher: Mick’s first season in F1 has had its fair share of ups and downs. From large mistakes such as his crash under safety car, to his impressive Q2 appearance. He has arguably been the ‘best’ rookie this season despite his many crashes. However, Mick’s junior career has shown that it takes him a year or 2 to get fully suited with his machinery, so it’ll be interesting to see how he performs next year with Haas’ improved car (hopefully).


My Season Rating of Mick Schumacher: 6.5/10


Best Race: Turkish Grand Prix – You’ve probably already seen it on this list, but his Q2 appearance was more than impressive considering his terrible car and the dreadful conditions.


Nikita Mazepin: Yeah it’s not been great for Nikita has it. A learning year, shall we say. He has been well off his teammate this year, often over 2 seconds off in qualifying. Despite this, he had clearly closed the gap to Mick over the last few months which could get closer next year. I don’t think we can judge him too harshly for his many crashes this year as he definitely wasn’t the only one.

My Season Rating of Nikita Mazepin: 4/10


Best Race: Brazilian Grand Prix – Nikita came agonisingly close to finally topping Mick in qualifying, with a small mistake costing him the chance. He drove a rather quiet but impressive race, making a great overtake on his teammate towards the end.


How do you think the Haas drivers did this season? Let us know!


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