Given the Formula One silly season is almost complete just the second seats at Haas and Williams are yet to be decided for the 2023 season. Gunther Steiner has been teasing his ‘Drive to Survive’ audience for several weeks with his views on Mick Schumacher’s future.
The latest from the cult TV Formula One team boss was that “home advantage” played into Mick’s hands despite the Haas F1 team holding talks with Nico Hulkenberg about a return to the Formula One grid.
F1 is 18 racers down this season with just four to go and it is unusal for a team to be undecided at this point over whether they retain a current driver or low to pastures new.
Haas playing games with Schumacher
Williams have made it clear they will part company with their title sponsor’s son Nicholas Latifi but yet have to name who will replace him.
Haas on the other hand have stubbornly refused to confirm whether Mick Schumacher will stay with the team or be released.
It is probable that Williams team principal Jost Capito is waiting for the Haas decision given his recent comments expressing admiration for young Schumachers potential.
Gene Haas is something of an absent team owner, rarely attending races but he retains the final decision on who his driver lineup will be for the following season.
Gene Haas maverick team owner
In a famous ‘Drive to survive” episode from the 2020 season, Haas team Principal takes a call from Gene Haas who tells him there is “no more money” forcing Gunther to sack Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean and recruit Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher for the following year.
Mazepin’s father is a Russian oligarch and owner of entry giant Ulakrali who became the Haas team title sponsor for 2021. Yet following the invasion of Ukraine, Formula One vetoed all things Russian and Mazepin and Uralkali were out in the cold.
Mick Schumacher brings the 1&1 sponsorship which has been a funding lifeline for the team during 2022. Yet given the huge rise in F1 interest in the USA, Haas are expected to sign a deal for 2023 and beyond with a big US backer.
Haas F1 new sponsor marginalises Mick
This or course marginalises Mick Schumacher’s position given the 1&1 funding is likely to pale into insignificance when the new US corporate deal is announced.
Yet today at the NASCAR event in Las Vegas, Gene Haas has broken his silence over the future driver lineup for his Haas F1 team.
“We’re just waiting. We need Mick to bring some points and we’re trying to give him as much time as possible to see what he can do,” said Haas to the Associated Press.
“If he wants to stay with us, he’s got to show us that he can score some more points. That’s what we are waiting for.”
With the biggest change in car design regulations in living memory, the Haas F1 team began this season well. Kevin Magnussen was P5 in the opener in Bahrain scoring 10 points for the team.
Haas F1 start to 2022 exceptional
The Dane secured a P9 at the second round in Saudi and another at round 4 in Italy. The next points for Haas came as Magnussen scraped a P10 in round 10 at Silverstone, but his team mate Mick finally broke his F1 points duck with a P8 finish which he followed up a week later in Austria with a P6.
Since then pickings have been scarce for Haas and they currently sit joint P8 with Alpha Tauri in the constructors’ championship on 34 points.
Gene Haas recognises this fall in performance, “We started off the year with resounding success and I think the middle season wasn’t too good, and we just seem to fall back into our usual way of running,”
The new FIA cost cap regulations have tightened up the lap time differences between the top and middle ranking F1 teams as Gene observes.
“We’ve just got to get out of that. And Formula One is so tough. When I started there was 6 seconds between the leaders and the backend and you had a 107% rule. Now we’re all within 2 seconds, so it’s gotten a lot tougher and there are no bad teams anymore.”
Gene Haas irritated by Mick’s crashes
It appears the Haas team owner has been irritated by the cost of Mick Schumachers off road excursions this season.
“In this sport, being kind of a rookie driver, the sport just doesn’t allow it — it’s just too expensive, If you make any mistakes in driver selection, or strategy, or tire selection, it is costing you millions of dollars.”
“I think Mick has got a lot of potential, but you know he costs a fortune and he’s wrecked a lot of cars that have cost us a lot of money that we just don’t have. Now, if you bring us some points, and you are (Max) Verstappen and you wreck cars, we’ll deal with it. But when you are in the back and you wreck cars, that’s very difficult.”
Haas guarantees Schumacher’s future in bizarre fashion
Yet the maverick Gene Haas in conclusion gives Mick Schumacher a guarantee of a drive for 2023, on one condition.
“Well, if he wins the next one, he’s in. Somewhere in between there is a grey area.”
Based on Gene’s assessment, it may be wise for Mick Schumacher to be upping the anti with Jost Capito about a drive fro Williams in 2023 because the likelihood of him or Magnussen winning a race before the end of 2022 is clearly delusional.
READ MORE: Ford and Andretti hookup for F1 entry
Shaquille O'Neal was the star of the show last time out at COTA 😆#USGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/2RLmmHxrMK
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 16, 2022
The decision on the Haas and Williams seat will come after the last F2 race, when it is clear which F2 drivers can get their licence. So silly season will take a while.
Only Williams will wait for anyone’s SL situation.
The Haas announcement could come as soon as the upcoming Thursday.
Being unable to score points for a few rounds has been out of his control.
Besides, MAG hasn’t scored points either for a little while.