Nikita Mazepin is racing with a slightly heavier chassis than teammate Mick Schumacher, according to his Haas team boss Guenther Steiner.
Mazepin made comments after last week's Styrian Grand Prix that his Haas chassis is heavier than Schumacher's, which isn't helping him in his quest to beat his fellow rookie teammate. Steiner, speaking ahead of the Austrian GP, confirmed there is a small difference between the two cars.
"It's in the tolerances, it's pretty easy to explain. You always try to do your best and one of the chassis is a little bit heavier," Steiner told media, including RacingNews365.
"But not in all circumstances, just when we need a certain weight balance so it ends up a little bit heavier but it's marginal but it is heavier.
"I don't want to get into numbers because then we are quoted on numbers. And then we go and discuss numbers because they can vary depending on the racetrack, where we are racing, which I said, with the with the weight balance we need to achieve."
Steiner explained the intention is to give Mazepin a new chassis for the Belgian Grand Prix onwards, and confirmed the extra weight will be making a difference to the Russian driver's outright speed.
"Absolutely, it always has impact, I mean heavier cannot have no impact," he said.
"It's physics but, again, the next thing is you ask me 'how much impact ? Give me a time?'
"I'm not gonna go into there because then we start to speculate because it's not one fixed number.
"The plan is to have a new chassis for Belgium for Nikita."
The Russian rookie, speaking on Thursday ahead of the weekend, believes it's having a big impact on his speed.
"Well, I think the common perspective that you get on a pitwall is probably very different to what you feel driving the car for 73 laps. So I think that everyone is entitled to think, and they could be right, but I'm pretty certain that it does have quite a big impact," he said.
"Because it offsets the weight distribution and then that offsets the setup that you put in the car.
"So there are quite a few factors, if you go into it from a mechanical perspective. However, I would say in the grand scheme of things, it's not, not unacceptable. It's just making my life a bit more challenging. But I have a very good team of engineers who are helping me in my rookie year to understand that and work with it a bit better."