Formula 2 race-winner Nikita Mazepin will race for the Haas F1 team in the 2021 season, having signed a multi-year deal with the team.
The 21-year-old Russian is currently 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, having already confirmed that both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen will leave at the end of the 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 Haas team boss Guenther 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.
Mazepin’s team-mate next season is tipped to be Mick Schumacher, the son of current seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher. An announcement is understood to be set for the coming days, likely after this weekend’s F2 season finale, when Schumacher will battle fellow Ferrari Academy driver Callum Ilott for the title.
Ferrari has close ties to Haas as its engine supplier and technical partner.
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.