The advent of the popular Formula One Netflix ‘Drive to survive’ series has impacted the paddock in a number of ways. Gunther Steiner the team boss of back of the grid Haas F1 has become a celebrity due to his blunt and dismissive attitude in front of the camera. Yet Haas is potentially becoming a laughing stock amongst F1 observers not merely due to their poor performance but the incessant indecision over their 2023 driver line up.
Whilst the cliff edge the team are perched upon makes great viewing for next February’s Netflix extravaganza. Haas F1 risks becoming the laughing stock amongst the F1 circus.
Steiner’s prevarication continues
Gunther is repeatedly questioned over the future of Mick Schumacher and he responds with a range of nonsensical replies which recently have included that his German driver needs to deliver more points to the team to compensate for the cost of his car damage during the season.
Given that McLaren and Alpine who are fighting for P4 in the F1 constructors’ championship fail regularly to get both their cars in the points on race day, what hope has Haas with its vastly inferior racing machine any hope of delivering at all?
Kevin Magnussen who is Haas senior driver and with 6 more years of F1 experience than Mick Schumacher has struggled to drag the Haas car into the points, so what hope has the young German?
The Dane scored a P9 at the US GP however, this was his first top 10 finish since round 11 in Austria where his team mate Schumacher delivered a commendable P6 after battling with Hamilton for lap after lap.
The puppet F1 team principal
One of the Netflix episodes from the 2020 season made the behind the scenes operations of the Haas F1 team plain for all to see. Steiner is on a call with team owner Gene Haas who refuses to provide any more funds for the failing F1 operation.
Steiner then decides to sack his two experienced drivers in Grosjean and Magnussen and replace them with rookies who will deliver millions towards the teams future budget.
The inevitable scenario plays out. During the 2021 season neither Haas F1 drivers are capable of scoring a point between them and the team ends up bottom of the constructor’s title even below the Williams Racing F1 outfit.
Ex F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone waded into the Haas/Schumacher debate this week. Speaking to Germany’s RTL he advised the young German driver, “I think he should find another racing class and leave Formula 1.”
“Schumacher’s last name is his biggest burden, but Mick tries to live up to his family name as best he can. However, he does not succeed. So I would say: forget Formula 1.”
Mick Schumacher responds
Ecclestone’s ramblings to be fair are somewhat nonsensical. The Schumacher name will follow Mick whatever class of racing he chooses to pursue.
Mick responded to Ecclestone’s comments speaking to Bild. “It’s hard to forget Formula 1. I love it too much, so I won’t do that. Everyone always has an opinion on everything, but I care about the opinions of the people I care about.”
“Of course my family. And a few other people from Formula 1 – Sebastian Vettel, for example. Those are the opinions that matter to me.”
Mick’s boss Steiner has attracted criticism for his dithering over whether to retain his driver or replace him. When asked today in Brazil whether the uncertainty was affecting the morale at Haas, Gunther was dismissive.
“It doesn’t,” he bluntly retorted.
“Just look who says it. You judge the people like this. I’ve got my opinion about the people and I don’t need to write it on social media because I’ve got enough confidence to know what I do.”
Does Haas know what he’s doing?
Steiner’s reposte masks the real issue behind the scenes. It’s Gene Haas who in fact makes the decisions over driver recruitment and given his lack of F1 experience and knowledge, this is the real reason why Haas is presently the laughing stock of the paddock.
“I’ve been pinching myself… like is this real?!”
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 10, 2022