Haas have unveiled a new-look livery for the 2021 Formula 1 season.
Although all teams are restricted in the development improvements they can make to their cars for 2021, Haas are making the fewest changes to last year’s car, the VF-21, as they focus their efforts and resources on making big steps when F1’s rules are overhauled for the 2022 season.
Mick Schumacher, the 21-year-old son of seven-time champion Michael and last year’s F2 champion, is joined in an all-rookie line-up by Russia’s Nikita Mazepin, 22.
“I have never said that carrying the family name is pressure, and I am pretty sure I will never say that because I am very happy to carry that name back into Formula 1,” said Schumacher in a Haas media call.
“I am very proud of it. It is a boost for me and it gives me motivation every single day to work as much as I can and work as hard as I can.
“I will try to improve in every aspect – that is what I want to do – and I will work my a*** off for that and give everything I have.”
The new white, blue and red livery, the colours of Russia’s flag, coincides with the announcement of a new multi-year title sponsorship deal with Russian firm Uralkali, a fertilizer producer.
The company is part-owned by Mazepin’s father, Dmitry.
Haas, who have generally raced with a grey livery, finished ninth in each of the past two seasons and last year scored just three points, comfortably their lowest points tally since joining the sport in 2016.
Experienced pair Romain Grosjean, who had been with the team since their inception, and Kevin Magnussen have been jettisoned in favour of the youthful Schumacher and Mazepin, both F2 graduates, as the American-owned team look to the future.
“It’s an exciting time for the team with Uralkali coming onboard and having Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher driving for us,” said team owner Gene Haas.
“It’s definitely a case of all change but I’m hoping that we get back to being in the mix for scoring some points at these races.
“It’s been a tough couple of seasons, but we’ve also got our eye on the bigger picture, in particular 2022 and the implementation of the new regulations.”
Team boss Guenther Steiner says that while there is no escaping the fact that another challenging season is ahead, they must make the most of any points-scoring chances that come their way during the 23-race campaign.
“We face a year of learning with the drivers while technically we look ahead to the future,” he said. “It’s no secret that the VF-21 will not be developed as we focus our energies now on the 2022 car and, what we hope, will be a more level-playing field.
“We all know roughly where we expect to be this season in terms of the competition, but we must ensure we’re there to capitalise on opportunities when they present themselves.”
In December, Mazepin was condemned by his new team and issued an apology after a video posted on his Instagram Stories appeared to show him inappropriately touching a woman’s chest during a car journey.
Haas said they dealt with the matter with Mazepin.
Mazepin and Schumacher will drive the updated VF-21, which has had to be altered since last season to incorporate F1’s new floor regulations 2021, for the first time when pre-season begins in Bahrain on March 12.