5 февраля 2014 (21:26) / просмотров: 171

Igor Mazepa: We hope to debut in Formula 1

Igor Vladimirovich Mazepa, the boss of Russian Time racing team (GP2 series)  passed away in Monday, February, 3. He was only 40 years old. The cause of Igor Mazepa's death was thrombosis.

The RUSSIAN TIME was founded only one year ago. It has got the GP2 championship crown in its debut season. The Russian Time's driver, Sam Bird, became a runner-up. In 2014 the Russian Time will also race in GP3 Series.

The Formula-2.ru site editors send our thoughts and prayers to Igor Mazepa's family. R.I.P.

Unfortunately, there's almost nothing about Igor Mazepa's biography, life and plans in English. So we offer English-speaking racing community to read an interview with Igor Mazepa. It was taken by Russian racing site  F1News.ru during the pre-season tests of GP2 Series in 2013. We are sorry for some mistakes in the translation, we appreciate for any corrections in the comments.

Igor Mazepa

Author: Elmir Valeev, F1News.ru. March 7, 2013. Translation: Alex Nizamov, specially for Formula-2.ru

The GP2 Series new team Russian Time (it replaced iSport International, once a famous team), went to tests in Barcelona as soon as it has announced its debut in GP2 championship and owners replacement. Right after the tests Russian site F1News.ru got in touch with new team boss Igor Mazepa and asked him to tell about the new project…

Question: Igor, tell our readers more about yourself. How long are you in motorsport?

Igor Mazepa: I have been involving in motorsport since I was 11. It was karting in the beginning. Getting some older, I joined the car selling business. Also I worked with Russian "ZIL" factory team in European trucks championship. Then I moved to the US for 7 years - I graduated from two universities there, studying marketing. I worked with some racing teams in IndyCar and GT championships at the same time.

Coming back to Russia, I started to work with Russian driver Aleksey Vasilyev. I was his manager in the Convers Men X racing team. Then I started to work (and we still cooperate) with Lamborghini factory team.  Specifically we collaborate with Heinz Reiter. Then we worked with Roman Rusinov from endurance races (Spartak Racing team) - but everything was in GT class. Nothing close to open wheels series.

Igor Mazepa

In 2008 I established a kart racing team - it was also named Spartak Racing. The team has got two titles in Russian karting championship - in 2008 and 2009 (Rotax Max class).

And since then I have been working with our 2009 karting champion - Artyom Markelov. I'm still his manager, but he has his own program, and we have ours. Now Artyom drives in Lotus Team in Deutsche Formel 3. And, of course, if Lotus decided to join the GP2 field, I would be speaking from this brand.

Anyway, to be honest, I'm much gladder that things finally went this way as they are now. The Russian national team is the main priority for me. Russian project for Russian drivers - what else can I dream about?

Question: Are you going to invite Artyom Markelov to your new team Russian Time in GP2?

Igor Mazepa: GP2 Series is a serious championship. There are almost no tests. Drivers come there not to learn something, but to show their abilities. Preparation here is extremely important. Russian driver Artyom Markelov from German F3 is not ready for GP2 today. But we hope on his progress in perspective. He is a talented driver with good speed, and his development is going on.

Igor Mazepa

Question: Is the Russian Time Team in GP2 an independent project in your career? Or is it a step for further?

Igor Mazepa: Motorsport is an expensive sport. You must have a very strong financial base to join the GP2 paddock. We have seen some sad examples, like HRT in Formula 1. The team  was hanging about in the championship for 3 years. And finally it has ended up with a big minus in both financial and reputation aspects.

Of course, my target is Formula 1. But before running an F1 team I must prove myself as a succesfull team principal in GP2.

Question: Did you buy the iSport team, or just take up their place in the list?

Igor Mazepa: Of course, the team is not a new one. Everything that we have is iSport's heritage: all the trucks, cars, personnel, equipment… We have bought a completely ready team. And even the cars for the pre-season tests were prepared by the iSport staff.

Question: What about team's adaptation to the new situation?

Igor Mazepa: The main problem is that the staff is demotivated. Imagine that you have just bought a used car. And after this you understand that the car is not in perfect order. One day there are troubles with ball bearing. Next day the air conditioner got crazy, etc. We took the risks into consideration when making the decision to buy the team. But finally we caused with difficulties.

For example, right now we're trying to solve one of such problems. The Tom Dillman's car foot-throttle  doesn't work as it expected. The reason may be either in engine management electronics system, or in wiring, or with something else. But it is the second day when we cannot give Dillman a car of full value. It's difficult to resolve such problems during tests. But we will not stop working. Sooner or later, we will sort it out. However, it draws off our powers. It does not allow us to work with car speed. So the results we are showing now are our minimal ones.

There is a famous Russian cartoon about Captain Wroongel. The heroes have built their racing yacht from fresh wood, but in the beginning of regatta the yacht has grown into the sea shore. The yacht's name was "Pobeda" (Russian: "Victory"). After some circumstances the first two letters of the "Pobeda" name heaved off, and the name became "beda" instead of "Pobeda" (Russian: "Trouble" instead of "Victory"). Today I was thinking that everything we do now is similar to the cartoon. Right now we're working on this throttle pad and cannot sail. But everyone else has already sailed off.

Question: But Captain Wroongel has finally run down the regatta, and even won it. Do you have similar plans?

Igor Mazepa, Russian Time racing team: Yes, and it fill us with enthusiasm (laughing). But anyway… You know, many people were coming to our boxes and asked about the Russian Time, speaking that they want to get a job in our team.

Question: How long your project will take to become successful? How much time you may allow the team for maturing?

Igor Mazepa: Strategically the plan looks this way. To develop a successful top team you need one year. And we want our team to be like… let's say a kind of "McLaren version" for the GP2 Series in terms of drivers' preparation. One year is a short time for this, of course. But we task ourselves the challenge to completely prepare the team for 2014 season and to challenge the title next year.

Question: Have you already know the names of your future drivers?

Igor Mazepa, GP2 Russian Time team principal: We would like to see Russian drivers, but this is impossible now. Some of them have already signed a contract with someone else; others are still not ready for such a strong series as GP2. I see only one decision if we want to be the best team. We need to invite the best drivers. So now we take into consideration two drivers - Tom Dillman and Robert Frijns. Robert will join us at the third day of the tests.