Zero F1 championship points and two serious accidents including a total loss – Mick Schumacher is currently facing criticism from all sides after his own mistakes, including that of his team Boss who said he was banned from having another crash. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff wades into the subject.
Some experts have even suggested a premature end to his Formula 1 career, with Haas team boss Günther Steiner, of all people, who topped the debate by speaking of the crash ban before the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
First, ex-Formula 1 driver and uncle Ralf Schumacher jumped to his nephew’s side: “I can well imagine that Mick would already have points under a team boss like Franz Tost or Andreas Seidl,” the Sky pundit criticised Steiner’s management style.
Now another team boss is taking the same line as Ralf Schumacher and protecting the stricken driver: “You have to take the pressure off him [Mick Schumacher],” Wolff demanded in an interview on Germany’s RTL TV channel.
He said it was the “completely wrong way” to tell Schumacher that he should get through the weekend without any damage and thus to stir up an additional pressure.
“Mick can drive and has intelligence. You have to let him drive now as he can and as his instinct allows,” Wolff said.
The Silver Arrows team boss would take the opposite style of Steiner and let Schumacher “just loosen the grip off the wheel – with the possibility that it ends up in the wall again. But he has to learn that”.
Wolff also noted that the 23-year-old is only contesting his second Formula 1 season, is still very much in the rookie phase and that they have to “give him the confidence”. Schumacher should therefore concentrate on working with his engineers and switch off his surroundings. “I don’t read the internet and I don’t listen to heckling, I do my thing,” he advises the German driver.
Wolff remains firmly convinced that Schumacher can go a long way. Will the 2020 Formula 2 champion also sit in the cockpit at Mercedes one day? “Why not?” the team boss answered dryly, but at the same time underlined his satisfaction with the current driver pairing as well as the development in his own junior squad.
“But: Mick, with or without the name Schumacher, is someone with his strengths who will always be on our radar,” Wolff concluded.