Ferrari does not plan to intervene in the much publicised inter-team battle at Haas as they are more focused on Mick Schumacher’s performance, while Guenther Steiner adds on his contract situation.
As the 2021 F1 season has gone on, it has become apparent that there is a battle brewing at Haas. Two rookies with only each other to fight, is in fairness a recipe for potential conflict and we saw it boil to the surface in Zandvoort, as well as continue in Monza.
With Schumacher firmly embroiled in this battle with teammate Nikita Mazepin, Ferrari has no plans to intervene in the situation, as Mattia Binotto reckons it is on Steiner to handle. “What you’re mentioning is something that certainly the Haas team principal is managing,” he said. “As Ferrari, we are not entering into those details and even not too aware.”
Ferrari have the trust in Haas to deal with the matter and every team has enough problems on their plate, the last thing they need to do is take on other team’s problems. For the Italian manufacturer, the bigger picture is the progress made by Schumacher from the first race to the last, and so far, they are pleased with his efforts.
“We are more focussed on Mick, in terms of progression,” said Binotto. “We said that this season for him was important to not have too much pressure, but to make sure he was continuously improving in terms of experience and driving.” As noted above, Ferrari’s primary focus in that team is obviously Schumacher and there’s a clear intention to nurture the German into racing for the Italian manufacturer one day.
“I think Mick is doing very well, it is a first season, certainly there are things that can be addressed or improved but as a first season, I think he’s doing a proper job,” said Binotto about his first year. “We are happy to see the progress.” So far in 2021, Schumacher has consistently outperformed his teammate and is doing the best job he can in, relatively speaking, the worst car the sport has seen in a while.
He has had his crashes, but it is part of the learning. Whether Schumacher can really kick on from this will be determined next season, season two. “I think next year will as well be important for him,” said Binotto. “A second year, I think by then we will expect a step in terms of speed and, let me say, consistency but so far, happy.”
And just to reiterate, “whatever is happening within the Haas team, that’s not really our affair”. But with this inevitably distracting inter-team battle at Haas, fans and alike hope that Schumacher can switch to a team like Alfa Romeo. As has been the case for some time, Haas chief Steiner put down any of those, even though he agrees that the confirmation of 2022 is still pending.
The hope was for it to be sorted in summer break, but it has now extended again. It is not clear what’s the delay is for, even though Steiner suggested that a three-party contract – Schumacher-Ferrari-Haas – is what delaying the confirmation, but he is not worried. “The confirmation of Mick is not done yet but it’s just as I keep on saying it’s a work in progress, everything is going in the right direction,” he said.
In any case, the availability of that second seat at Alfa Romeo is not in the hands of Ferrari and is down to Alfa Romeo and Sauber, claimed Binotto. The Italian mnaufacturer don’t have direct contact to that seat like they do for a seat at Haas. Perhaps shifting Schumacher to Alfa Romeo would be logistically harder, with so many names in the hat to fight alongside Valtteri Bottas in 2022.
Steiner did clarify that Haas has the Ferrari contract. “We have an agreement between the two of us, but I cannot go into what exactly is in the contract but we have agreed that we take one of the Ferrari drivers,” he said. The Italian manufacturer does have direct contact with Haas to put a junior driver of theirs’s in one of their seats. It makes keeping Schumacher at Haas for 2022 a lot easier and is most likely what will happen, but the fact official confirmation is taking a long time, has caused speculation to spike.
It’s been a positive rookie season from Schumacher, and he’ll be keen to build on this in 2022. Ferrari are happy and he seems to be happy but of course you never know what’s going on behind closed doors. Either way the Italian manufacturer will not be getting involved in the Haas squabble and perhaps rightly so.
The story was written by Ollie Pattas
Here’s Nikita Mazepin on chassis change bringing confidence
Here’s Nikita Mazepin being apologetic to Mick Schumacher after Monza