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Besieged Mazepin should re-think F1 career - pundit

Besieged Mazepin should re-think F1 career - pundit
© Reuters
Criticism of Nikita Mazepin's rookie season is becoming even more intense, as some wonder if the young Russian is skilled enough to race in Formula 1.

Criticism of Nikita Mazepin's rookie season is becoming even more intense, as some wonder if the young Russian is skilled enough to race in Formula 1.

The beleaguered Haas driver spun within minutes of the start of Friday practice in Barcelona.

"The guy can't keep the car on the track, even on a warm-up lap," said Niki Juusela, a Finnish commentator for the broadcaster C More.

"He is in a situation where I don't think even he knows what to think anymore."

On Twitter, Taki Inoue regularly jokes that he is the worst F1 driver of all time, but even the Japanese is unimpressed with what he calls the "certified proper moving chicane" Mazepin.

Indeed, Charles Leclerc on Friday was scathing of the 22-year-old as he tried to pass him in his Ferrari.

"Mazepin will never change," Leclerc said on the radio.

Inoue also claims Mazepin has "destroyed" the FIA's super license system.

"He got full points to be valid for his super license, but he seems to be driving like a Taki Inoue," he said. "This proves clearly that the FIA doesn't need the super license points system anymore."

Another Finnish commentator, Ossi Oikarinen, commented on Friday: "Not all of us can become Formula 1 drivers. There are quite a few of us here in front of the televisions who couldn't keep an F1 car on the circuit.

"I think Mazepin has to look in the mirror at some point and ask himself whether he should be focusing on something else," he added.

Speculation that Mazepin's future may be short-lived in Formula 1 has even reached his Haas teammate Mick Schumacher.

Also 22, the German was asked about rumours that rival teams are worried about Mazepin's driving, and even that Haas might be re-thinking its plans based on the major financial backing of the Russian's father Dmitry.

"I honestly don't know how to answer that," Schumacher said. "Right now I'm just trying to improve my own performance."

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Nikita Mazepin pictured in March 2021
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Thursday's key events

· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
· Andrew Pozzi pursues his dream of an Olympic medal in the men's 110m hurdles final (3.55am)
· Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson are among the British hopes in the men's 20km race walk (8.30am)
· Holly Bradshaw aims to improve on fifth in Rio to challenge Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia for an unlikely medal in the women's pole vault (11am)
· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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