Nikita Dmitryevich Mazepin is the latest young rising star to make his way into Sahara Force India’s Development squad. The young Russian joined the team in 2016, making his first experience behind the wheel of Formula One machinery at the Silverstone test and impressing for his maturity.
A further season with the team in 2017, featuring further outings in the car, means Nikita continues on his development path with Sahara Force India for the third season in a row.
Born in Moscow in 1999, Nikita first drove a kart at the age of seven, progressing to club events and clinching the competitive Russian Championship Cup in 2009 ahead of a move to international racing the following year.
After 2012, under the guidance of former World Karting Champion, Oliver Oakes, Nikita progressed through the ranks, racking up victories and podiums and starring in the 2013 World Junior Championship finals, where only a post-race penalty deprived him of a podium.
In 2014, the Muscovite made the transition to the senior KF class at the early age of 14 – it proved to be a stellar year, culminating in second place at the World Karting Championships in Essay, France, in the last act of his karting career.
2 March 1999
The transition to single-seater racing immediately brought results: Nikita finished on the podium in his first race in the MRF Challenge Formula 2000 season, in Qatar, and followed up with further success in the AsiaCup Series. In 2015, he contested the New Zealand-based Toyota Racing Series before returning to Europe for the prestigious Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC) season where he finished on the podium.
2016 marked the breakthrough for the young Russian: after graduating to the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, Nikita entered the Sahara Force India Development squad, undertaking a full simulator programme and finally taking to the track in the in-season test in Silverstone in July, aged just 17. In 2017, outings in the car in Hungary and Abu Dhabi, alongside a full simulator programme, allowed the Russian youngster to gain even more familiarity with the new and more powerful Formula One machinery, as he also competed in the FIA F3 European Championship, visiting the podium on three occasions.