Home While Away with Nikita Mazepin
Are you sitting at home and missing motorsport and Formula 2 as much as we are here at InsideF2?
If like us, you’ve been wondering what some of the drivers are doing to occupy themselves while away from the track.
We caught up with Hitech Grand Prix driver Nikita Mazepin, to ask him how he’s spending his time during this global Coronavirus quarantine.
How have you been over the past couple of months are you back home in Russia?
I’m good, thank you. After the 25th March, I have been back in Moscow and in some other parts of Russia. Normally, I’m here two weeks a month and spend about one week in the UK.
The rest of the time I’m racing and I go to university in Moscow, therefore I have to be here for that now.
What have you been doing? We saw on your Instagram that you had been on ATVs back home. It looked fun!
Yeah, that’s right, Russia is a very big country and has a lot to offer. Sometimes you don’t experience what your own country has to give.
So with the study being possible to do anywhere with internet lessons, I was able to go to the countryside for a few weeks. That was in the time when we could move a little bit more than now
I’ve done quite a bit of ATV and buggy stuff because that’s was my big passion since I was a kid, so started doing it a bit more after a long time with having more free time now.
How have you been balancing your University study with everything that’s been going on? Has the study eased off a little with what’s been happening?
To be honest, it hasn’t eased off, It actually got harder. With me having no excuses not to study, there has been more pressure. Without racing, I’m no different from any other student so I need to be online for all those lessons.
How is your contact been with the team since March when this begun and the season was postponed?
I’ve known the key members of the team for quite a few years so we have been having quite a few phone calls. Honestly speaking more about life, health, safety and things like that. People have been interested in what’s happening here in Russia and I’m interested in what’s happening in the rest of the world
Have you been able to discuss the car and season much?
We have had a few zoom calls as we are the new team so that we can try and be well prepared when we restart. Obviously nobody knows when that will happen, even if a race will go ahead in a safe country I’m not sure if countries l can open their own borders.
How did you find the car? Its fundamentally the same car as last year but obviously we have changed the wheels. What are your thoughts?
It’s not easy for me to speak because I may give you the characteristics of a buggy I drove a few days ago rather than the F2 car I drove at the beginning of March.
For me, it felt like a big difference in setup from what I was driving last year. When you sit in the cockpit of the car it looks very different and you see much more of the tyre. But, I would say the tyre change was smoother than people expected.
How does it impact driving?
It’s much harsher in the car because there is less suspension travel. I am quite happy with how they lasted during the long runs and short runs. Especially on a track like Bahrain as there is extremely high degradation. Fast corners I didn’t feel much of a change, and in the slow corners, there was a change with the increase due to the increased contact surface of the rubber.
One of the issues with our situation is for athletes like yourself attempting to stay fit. How have you been able to adapt your training regimes to try and stay in shape?
It hasn’t been perfect I would say, before this while I was in Russia, I have never thought about having facilities for training because there had always been good gyms close to where I live.
At the beginning of quarantine, I was first able to go to gyms by myself but then that option was not available because of the rules changing.
At that moment I quickly purchased some needed equipment and made a gym. I had some access to my trainer’s gym who has some good facilities.
We have seen the huge uptake on SIM Racing have you been able to get involved?
Just before the start of quarantine in the UK, I had ordered a SIM setup and the arrival of it was expected in about two weeks. I then left to go to Moscow and thought I would be here a little bit, to do my university stuff and then come back over but then the next day the boarders got shut.
I looked at shipping it to Russia but the delivery time was way over three weeks so it never quite happened to be honest.
I have it now in England and it needs setting up when I arrive back, I’m extremely jealous seeing the way everyone is racing right now as it seems like it’s very fun and also very useful for keeping your mind sharp for when the season re-starts.
Before all of this, I had been looking into simulators for a while, I have a strong feeling even when the season re-starts, I will still be using it quite a lot even just for fun.
What are your rituals for music and racing?
Well, it actually changed, I had a strong feeling in the past that music did help me to be in the best shape when I raced, about 20 minutes or 30 minutes before a race.
Then, back in 2019, everything went wrong and honestly, I realised that music didn’t help me to fix the problems. So I abandoned that idea and let’s see what happens in 2020.
What music type would you say you’re in too?
I really like English music, because most of the people I work with in racing are English, I realised that the selections on Apple Music in the UK are really good. I really like electronic, techno, dance music and that style and I like it for when I train, that’s definitely a must for me (when training).
So with that change without any music what is or will be your pre-race ritual?
Nothing special, just a routine that I do with my trainer. I think that whatever you do directly ahead of the race won’t have a huge influence on you. The way the race goes really is decided on what you have been doing in the last two, three or four weeks in my opinion.
What else have you been doing to pass the bits of free time you have?
I’ve read three books, one was about economics, and one was called Father in Russian about the father of Khabib Nurmagomedov and what it took to raise a successful business and sportsperson. (Link to the book for Russian speakers here)
What interests are do you have outside the car?
I really like economics and business things, to be honest. When I was young I had two quad bikes and every time I come from school I used to go riding two or three hours a day. We would tune the engines and make them faster. As I grew up, time changed and I would spend times in the city with friends more but now with quarantine, I have picked it back up and it’s my new hobby.
What are your goals in and out of the car for the future?
Learn as much as I can, keep going through the years of education, there are still another three years for the Master’s degree after this. In terms of racing, I would have to say being in F2 that the goal must be F1.
Definitely, if I could wish for one thing in the next few years it would be to be in F1.
Any ambitions to do any other racing or championships one day?
I was actually thinking about it for a long time, I would like to do endurance racing like Le Mans or a little bit of Formula E but only out of interest. The main goal for me is to get to Formula One right now.
Do you have a message for the insideF2 and FIA Formula 2 fans?
I hope racing we will be one of the first sports to start going again and I hope F2, as well as F1, will entertain people who have lots of free time while at home.
Hopefully, everyone can enjoy and watch what we do best.
*Image Credit:Â LAT Images / FIA F2 Championship