It is still brewing among the Haas trio about the happening at Zandvoort as talks resumed in F1 Italian GP, with Nikita Mazepin, Mick Schumacher and Guenther Steiner having their say.
While the Haas trio had their debrief at Zandvoort after the grand prix, they also met at Monza on Thursday, on the eve of the F1 Italian GP weekend, for further talks to lessen the rookie adrenaline and work together for Haas, rather than themselves.
It is clear that Schumacher and Mazepin wants to beat each other and claim the bragging rights, but it hasn’t been the smoothest of rides. The German has relatively had an upperhand on the Russian, but the latter is showing better pace slowly.
They have already had their moments, much to the media frenzy. And at Zandvoort, it was double-up situation, where the qualifying animosity dragged into the grand prix too. A miss-communication in the former, leading to another verbal ‘spat’ between the two.
In the race, Schumacher was enraged by the tactics of Mazepin, especially on the main straight. The move wasn’t looked at by the stewards – where many took it as an ‘unwritten rule’ of teammates spat not being dealt so severely as if others are involved.
Earlier in the day, Haas head Steiner confirmed further talks at Monza, seemingly after the official press conference. While Schumacher was mostly on the defense mode, giving away only diplomatic answers, Mazepin held his ground and gave more bites to the media.
Both agreed to keep the talks internal, but Mazepin defended himself when put forward questions regarding his aggression, comments by Ralf Schumacher, etc. Here’s what the two Haas F1 drivers stated during the official press conference:
Discussions at Zandvoort –
Mazepin: “It’s good to know that I’m not in the bad books so that is positive. But I want to respect the privacy of those discussions. The doors were closed and I don’t think it would be comfortable for all parties if it was an open discussion so I will keep it in.”
No rules broken –
Mazepin: “They [the FIA stewards] have not because we have deemed that I have not broken any sort of rules or recorded any violations within the FIA sporting and racing regulations. We are going to work as a team to try and fix that but perhaps sometimes you need to lift when you see that there’s a bollard in front of you instead of damaging your car so we will see [- directed at Schumacher]. Obviously, we are here as racing drivers and I think it is incorrect when drivers put themselves above the stewards and driver’s advisors and say what they should have done because that is not their position.
“But at the same time, I respect the rules a lot and what the rules say in the book is that unless a significant portion of the car behind is side by side to you, you are not entitled obliged to leave a car width and you are entitled to make a move from the left to the right because you are still in front and can make your position safely. That has been the case for many, many years and I respect so and I am going to keep doing so.”
Ralf Schumacher’s comments –
Mazepin: “There’s a very interesting phrase regarding opinions in the English language to do with that. I obviously respect opinions because everyone’s got them. It just seems like he’s obviously protecting his family. And what can I say? If his family needs protection in Formula 1, then I’m more than happy to listen to those things.”
Schumacher: “We’ve discussed it with the team internally and I’m quite keen on keeping it internal as well. And obviously I think that it has been an understanding that we have taken within the team.”
See any change –
Schumacher: “As of right now, I don’t think so. Hopefully, we will be able to race just as we do up to now. We’re discussing internally and I think everything has been said from each party. Hopefully, we will find the right solution and the right way out of it.”
On the side of Steiner, he looked a bit more calmer – at least on the outside – but was clear that he didn’t wish to have a repeat. At present, Haas do not have rules of engagement, but it could soon turn into a reality, if the drivers are not learning from their past.
The Italian understood that the drivers only have themselves to fight, but it doesn’t mean that they can go to extremes, they have to keep it fair. He did think Mazepin went a bit further in his frustrations, especially after what happened in Saturday qualifying.
Can Schumacher and Mazepin work at all together –
Steiner: “I think you know it’s a working relationship. I don’t really care what they do in their private life, if they’re friends or not but on the race track, they need to perform for the team and if you take them both not together they all agree with that. We just have to find our agreement when they’re both in the room, so that is what we are working on. But I think it’s like there is a lot of teammates which are not good friends, we just need to make it work and they are young they need to understand that and then they can move on together in the same team.”
Personal animosity or what –
Steiner: “I dont think it’s personal, I think it’s circumstances because as I continue to say, we are fighting with nobody else than between the two of them, therefore this is exaggerated, this fight because there is nothing else to fight, if you been a mix with another three or four cars you wouldn’t see this because if you do this kind of moves to not your teammate or if you race hard with not your teammate, that doesn’t make a difference, but within your teammate it’s always very almost personal. But they have nobody else to fight, so that is what they’re focused on and that seems to be in my opinion one of the issues there that there is nothing else around us we can fight.”
Rules need to be put in –
Steiner: “Yeah, but I could put it down and say ‘this is what we’re doing’ and I don’t want to do that intentionally. If you believe it or not because then they don’t learn how to race. If I say whoever is in qualifying in front, stays in front and things like this, its not beneficial for the team because then we don’t prepare them for next year when we will be in a different position. It’s like there is a very easy solution just tell them what to do and they have to obey to it, whether if they want or not, but that is not the intention.
“That is not productive in my opinion. So, I want to get to a point where they both understand. Also for their future and for their career, how to do racing clean, but also hard. You can race hard, but there’s also a clean way and that is what I try to do. It’s not that I failed to tell them what to do. Otherwise, I just say you don’t do that and that’s it whoever is in Turn 1 first stays first, but that is not good for anybody except for my budget maybe.”
Pitwall communication gap (via FormulaRapida.net) –
Steiner: “No, and that is what happened to us Saturday last week. It was like that, Nikita was under the impression, when he got that call he didn’t really, it wasn’t clear enough what we told him, that Mick had the instruction from us that he is allowed to do it and therefore it was a little bit upset, more than a little bit maybe, but I think we learnt out of that that we will be clear on that, that i would say it’s an easy fix.”
Here’s what Haas chief Guenther Steiner said after Dutch GP