F1 star Schumacher says he will benefit after Mazepin exit
Formula One rookie Mick Schumacher has said ex-teammate Nikita Mazepin's replacement, Kevin Magnussen, will be "good for me and the team" after the Russian's deal was terminated following the start of the attack on Ukraine.
Frustrated Mazepin called Haas's decision to axe him and end its partnership with lead sponsor Uralkali, which is part-owned by his billionaire father, Dmitry, an "unfair" move that was "based on nothing".
The American team issued a statement on March 5 announcing Mazepin's abrupt departure less than three weeks before the start of the new season, adding that it was "shocked and saddened" by the attack on Ukraine.
F1 newcomers Mazepin and Schumacher had underwhelming debut campaigns for Haas, failing to earn a single point in a season that started with the team parading Russian flag-colored livery on its cars.
The son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher outperformed Mazepin over the season and is clearly enthused by the arrival of Magnussen, who drove for Haas from 2017 to 2020 after individual seasons with McLaren Mercedes, McLaren Honda and Renault.
"It's definitely beneficial for me and for the team," the 22-year-old said of the Dane, speaking to the media in remarks reported by RacingNews365.com.
"He's been part of it for four years, then obviously had a one-year break. Everybody likes him in the team.
"The emotion and the feeling in the team is really good. He's a good reference, so it's only positive for now.
"Obviously I can benefit from his experience and also I think he's a good benchmark.
"Now I have the opportunity to kind of measure myself and have the pressure, and kind of try to deliver under pressure, too. He's brought really good stuff into the team."
Mazepin claimed last week that he had found out about his departure through a press release and was yet to receive any communications from the team.
The former Formula Two racer had been eager to start the season despite being banned from taking part in the British Grand Prix following a Motorsport UK ruling on Russian and Belarusian racers.
Russian fertilizer giant Uralkali has announced it will seek damages and a refund of sponsorship money that has already been paid to Haas ahead of the season.
Magnussen set the fastest time in testing ahead of the Bahrain opener on March 20 before Schumacher set the second-quickest lap on Saturday.
The 29-year-old took part in the IMSA SportsCar Championship and IndyCar Series last year.
"What an awesome feeling to be back in the car," he told his Instagram following of more than 627,000 after the session with Haas. "[It] was a lot of fun – my neck doesn't agree, though."