Force India hire their own ‘Plucky Teen’

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Force India isn’t going to be left behind in the “Plucky Teen” category anymore as they have taken Toro Rosso’s lead and hired a Plucky Teen of their own as a reserve driver.

Sahara Force India Formula One Team has hired Nikita Mazepin as a development driver to mark the beginning of a long-term association with the team. The 16-year-old Russian will be part of the team’s development program with regular simulator sessions and attendance at various race events during the 2016 season.

Nikita had a second place finish in the 2014 CIK-FIA World Championship and graduated to Formula Renault 2.0 in 2015 where he secured his first single-seater podium finish.

Nikita’s racing plans for 2016 include a season in the Formula 3 Euro Series with Hi-Tech Racing alongside his Formula One commitments.

Nikita Mazepin: “It’s an incredible feeling to join Sahara Force India. It’s the biggest step in my career and I want to thank Vijay and everyone in the team for giving me this opportunity. I’m still young and I have a lot to learn, so the guidance and experience of Sahara Force India is really important for my development. My goal is to race in Formula One in the future and today’s news takes me closer to achieving that objective. I will work hard to help the team and do everything I can to improve my skills on and off the track.”

Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Nikita to begin his Formula One apprenticeship and become fully embedded inside our team. We have a strong track record of identifying and nurturing young talent and it is clear that Nikita is already a very capable and determined racer. 2016 will provide the perfect opportunity to showcase his abilities and develop the skills needed to become a Formula One driver. We plan to use him extensively on our new simulator and he will also support our in-season testing programme, which will play an important role in the development of the VJM09. It’s also exciting for the team to begin working with a young Russian driver given the success of the Russian Grand Prix in recent years. It’s a market with huge potential for Formula One and the emergence of young talents, such as Nikita, will ensure interest in the sport continues to grow rapidly.”


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And I’m sure the team is looking forward to him providing valuable insight into their test and development programs at levels unmatched by all but Carmen Jorda…. Although to be clear – is he a development driver or a reserve driver? You use both terms in the first two paragraphs and as we saw last year with Suzy Wolf, there is a difference. I would assume he’s only a test and development driver since it doesn’t sound like he’s eligible for a super license and so highly unlikely he would be allowed to drive an F1 car on a race… Read more »


“Spunky Teen”?

Or perhaps more accurately, “Well-Funded Teen”?

Negative Camber

I propose we refer to him as Plucky Tintin. ;)


I like it.

Negative Camber



More like this…


Nikita Mazepin sounds too cute to be in F1.

Jamie Huntoon

Come on, the headline should be Force India takes Russian’s money.


I hear his main sponsor will Flintstone Vitamins.


Seb’s kids should be about ready soon? I think Massa’s are too old.

Negative Camber

No but a young Schumacher is ready. :)

Paul KieferJr

Okay, what’s next? Altering genes of babies yet to be born? Seriously, has the world no shame?

Adam Nesvick

Damn…. at this rate, when is the FIA going to open a nursery?


Meanwhile in Grove, Williams have hired that perennial young driver Gary Paffet. I wonder which will provide better development feedback?

Tom Firth

I’m sure that decision had nothing at all to do with the powerplant in the cars… ;-)

Is it in his deal somewhere with the DTM team that he must be somehow involved in an F1 team, or something?

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