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F1 2021: Schumacher secures Haas seat for 2021

Formula 2 championship leader Mick Schumacher will join Nikita Mazepin in an all-rookie Haas Formula 1 team line-up for the 2021 season.

The 21-year-old German is the son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher and a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy. He has signed a multi-year deal with the Ferrari-powered Haas team.

Schumacher tested for Ferrari last year and was due to drive for Alfa Romeo in Friday practice at this year’s Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring until the session was cancelled due to bad weather.

Schumacher, who had long been tipped to secure the Haas drive, is in his second season of F2 and has taken two race wins. He leads fellow Ferrari Academy driver Callum Ilott by 14 points heading into this weekend’s final two races.

“The prospect of being on the Formula 1 grid next year makes me incredibly happy, and I’m simply speechless,” said Schumacher. “I want to acknowledge and extend my love to my parents; I know that I owe them everything.”

Haas team boss Guenther Steiner said: “We have an opportunity ahead of us, as a team, to evaluate and nurture a new driver, given our familiarity with our race package heading into 2021. We’re putting in place our building blocks for the continued long-term growth of the team, and I look forward to Mick’s contributions both on and off the track in that process.”

Russian driver Mazepin, 21, is third in the F2 standings ahead of this weekend’s season finale, having taken two victories. He’s also a former runner-up in the GP3 Series.

American outfit Haas will feature an all-new line-up for 2021, with both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen leaving at the end of this season.

Mazepin, whose father is the chairman of one of Russia’s largest chemical companies, is set to bring funding for the drive.

“Nikita has developed into a mature racer moving up through the junior ranks,” said Steiner. “I’m excited to see what he can achieve in Formula 1.”

Mazepin said: “[Haas is] giving a young driver an opportunity, and I think them for that. The team will be looking to me for feedback and inputs in order to refine its package for 2021 and beyond. I will take that responsibility on and can’t wait to get started.”

While Mazepin has yet to race in F1, he has conducted a number of tests, including a single day for Mercedes-AMG at Barcelona in 2019. He has also conducted several private tests in a two-year-old F1 car, as allowed under the current rules.

Meanwhile, Grosjean will miss this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit following his huge accident at the venue last weekend. Reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi, the grandson of double F1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi, will make his F1 debut for the team in his place.

The 24-year-old Brazilian has previously raced in Indycar and the DTM. 

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