September 24, 2021

Mazepin: Schumacher clash showed ‘you should lift when there’s a bollard in front’ | 2021 Italian Grand Prix

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Nikita Mazepin says there will be no change in the rules of engagement between the two Haas drivers following the latest incident between the pair in the Dutch Grand Prix.

It occured as Schumacher tried to pass Mazepin at the beginning of the second lap of the race. As he drew alongside, Mazepin moved towards him, forcing Schumacher towards the inside of the track where he appeared to strike the pit lane entry bollard.

It was the latest in a series of close encounters between the pair, including a similar move by Mazepin on the last lap of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. But following discussions within the team since last weekend, Mazepin said they are satisfied he had not done anything wrong.

“It’s good to know that I’m not in the bad books, so that’s positive,” he said in today’s FIA press conference at Monza. “But I want to respect the privacy of those discussions. The doors were closed and I don’t think it will be comfortable for all parties if it was an open discussion.”

The team has not changed its guidance to the two drivers on how they should race each other, Mazepin added. “They have not because we’ve deemed that I have not broken any sort of rules or violation within the FIA sporting and racing regulations. Therefore we’re going to work as a team to try and fix that.

“But perhaps sometimes you need to lift when you see that there is a bollard in front of you instead of damaging your car.”

The incident was not investigated by the stewards. When asked about the clash on Sunday evening after the grand prix FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi said he hadn’t seen it at the time. “I’d have to go and look at the incident again with a fresh set of eyes,” said Masi.

Schumacher’s uncle Ralf Schumacher, a former Formula 1 driver, strongly criticised Mazepin’s driving after the race. Asked about his comments, Mazepin said: “There’s a very interesting phrase regarding opinions in the English language to do with that. I obviously respect opinions because everyone’s got them.

“It just seems like he’s obviously protecting his family. And what can I say? If his family needs protection in Formula 1, then I’m more than happy to listen to those things.”

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