The subject of Michael Schumacher’s son Mick has consumed thousands of Formula One articles during his short tenure as an F1 driver. Even since his current sojourn from the sport as a Mercedes reserve driver Mick continues to attract the F1 writers ink as those pro and against contest the debate over whether the young German should be racing again.
The Haas F1 boss Gunther Steiner was forced to sack the teams experienced drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen due to a shortage of funds and recruit Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin for 2021 who both Brough significant sponsorship.
Haas ditch Mick for experience
However with a new title sponsor with MoneyGram set for 2023, Steiner was free to sack Mick from the Haas F1 team and return to his preferred method of engaging drivers with more experience.
After three years without a full time F1 drive, Nico Hulkenberg was brought back and has proven his worth to date outscoring his team mate by six points to two.
Schumacher started last season on dodgy ground following substantial crashes inJeddah and Monaco, but his fate was sealed later in the year with another big shunt at in practice at the Japanese Grand Prix which Gunther Steiner claims cost the team a whopping $700,000.
Steiner its “f***ing ridiculous
In his recent memoir, the ever candid Haas Boss explained his frustration in Suzuka.
“It happened on the f***ing in-lap! On the in-lap! Sure, it was very wet out there on the track, but nobody else managed to write off a car while they were driving back to the pits.
“I cannot have a driver who I am not confident can take a car around safely on a slow lap. It’s just f***ing ridiculous.”
Wolff slams Haas treatment of Mick
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff recently took a swipe at the Haas boss for they way he treated Mick Schumacher claiming:
“If Michael [his dad] had accompanied his son during the two Haas years, Steiner would not have dared to treat Mick like that!”
Helmut Marko has been dragged into the row as well following the recent revelations that it was he alone who stood against the recruitment of Schumacher into the junior Red Bull team.
Mick’s uncle Ralph accused Marko of having problem with Mick stating, “It seems that Helmut Marko has a problem with the Schumacher name.”
Marko drawn in to Schumacher row
The Red Bull advisor hit back stating, “For me, Michael Schumacher is the greatest, and I talk to Ralf regularly. But there’s one thing he gets confused about: Our F1 program is based on performance, not marketing.”
Marko argues it would be demoralising if AlphaTauri were to recruit a driver with two years F1 experience rather than the rookie they settled on in Nyck de Vries.
While Steiner’s decision to replace Schumacher with Nico Hulkenberg appears on the surface to have been positive, now a Haas F1 engineer has questioned Hulkenberg’s performance this year.
Head of race strategy for the Haas F1 team, Mike Caulfield, has been drawn into a twitter row over the topic of Schumacher verses Hulkenberg.
One of the best drivers I've worked with in terms of attitude and commitment. I've seen a lot of people say that he's only in because of his name, but actually, because of his name, the demands are a lot more. I hope he gets a shot in a decent car at some point. https://t.co/TVQIIUYXaM
— Mike Caulfield (@MikeCaulfieldF1) June 27, 2023
Haas top engineer praises Schumacher
“[He is] one of the best drivers I’ve worked with in terms of attitude and commitment,” Caulfield posted on Twitter.
“I’ve seen a lot of people say that he’s only in because of his name, but actually, because of his name, the demands are a lot more. I hope he gets a shot in a decent car at some point.”
Caulfield joined Haas in 2017 from Mercedes where he worked as a race strategy engineer with Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. His post caused the at times following acrimonious debate.
“You do realise that this season’s car which Hulk is driving is quite a different car to what Mick drove last season?” Caulfield replied to a punter who claimed Hulkenberg’s results this year justified the sacking of Mick.
Haas boss: Hulk’s race performance “shocking”
Haas may be unhappy with Caulfield’s next assertion that a direct comparison between the two is impossible given his criticism of their current leading driver.
“They’ve never driven the same car so how you can make that comparison, I’m not sure,” Caulfield replied. “Also, Hulk’s race pace has been pretty shocking.
“My feeling is Hulk would out-qualify [Mick], but Mick would be better in races.”
Despite his positive post about Schumacher’s attitude and work ethic, the Haas head of strategy was forced to concede “maybe he’s not good enough for that seat.”
“Silly season” lifeline for Mick?
“I can’t fault his attitude and commitment. Are there drivers out there faster and with more talent? Yes, which is why he probably wouldn’t get a Merc/Ferrari/RBR seat until he’s proved elsewhere.
The debate over whether Mick Schumacher deserves a Formula One seat or not will intensify as the sport moves into what is traditionally known as ‘the silly season.’
The finalisation of Lewis Hamilton’s impending new contract agreement with Mercedes will fire up the potential driver market moves that will take place for 2024/25.
If Hamilton is given a headline two year deal which in reality is a guaranteed drive for 2024 with the team having an option for 2025, then a number of other considerations come into play.
Mercedes influence Williams over Mick
Both Ferrari drivers are out of contract at the end of next season and the favourite to replace Hamilton appears to be Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
However, Carlos Sainz this week put Ferrari on notice that he will give them until this winter to extend his deal beyond the end of next year or will begin his search for another drive in 2025.
It may be with ex-Mercedes senior boss James Vowels in charge of customer team Williams, that the under performing Logan Sargent signed to the Grove outfit before Vowels accepted the team principal role will make way for Mick Schumacher who Wolff is promoting to return to the sport in 2024.
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 26, 2023