Nikita Mazepin says he expects 2022 to be smoother for him and Haas after learning “to eat an elephant bite by bite” in his rookie Formula 1 season.
Mazepin stepped up to Formula 1 with Haas this season but endured a low-key campaign in which he was eliminated in Q1 at each event and failed to score a point.
Mazepin will remain with Haas into 2022 when the team is aiming to return to the midfield, having poured its resources into its new project, opting against developing the 2021 package.
“It’s definitely been a very long year,” said Mazepin. “Racing in Formula1 is a lot longer than any category I’ve previously done, 22 races is a lot.
“It’s difficult, as overall it was positive, I’ve made huge step forward in my confidence and in my understanding from the point where we started.
“I’ve had good races, some difficult ones, some good ones, difficult ones – life in F1 isn’t consistent for everyone.
“We always knew what we were going into, and ’22 is the year when we put things together and I think I’m in a good place.”
When asked what he learned, Mazepin replied: “That you need to eat an elephant bite by bite. F1, and an elephant, to me, seems very similar.”
Mazepin nonetheless reckons the hard lessons will stand him and Haas in good stead moving into 2022.
“I don’t want to run ahead because I want to see the challenges that come up and deal with them,” he said.
“I had a few good battles this year with some faster cars and I felt comfortable.
“Driving a more balanced and predictable car should make it easier, as ultimately for me it is about going through the purpose of myself and racing and feeling like you can influence as a result as at the moment P19 is a bit difficult to go home satisfied.”