Haas F1 driver Mick Schumacher says management of expectations will be crucial to adapting to what could be a difficult 2021 F1 campaign, for which he has spent much time preparing.
Off the back of a Formula 2 title triumph with the winning team of Prema, it is expected that Schumacher faces a year of racing at the back in 2021, his debut F1 season that he is to spend with American outfit, Haas.
Haas has scored only three points in 2020, 25 points short of their tally from 2019 – a season considered catastrophic for the F1 team in its own right. With development over 2020 showing little promise, 2021 is expected to yield similar results, if not worse ones as some anticipate.
Schumacher says that the pursuit of relative goals and the management of expectations will be vital to his adaptation to a new environment, where he’ll be confronted by the reality of an uncompetitive team. Even though the ties between Ferrari and Haas will be increasing in 2021 with the arrival of Simone Resta, it will still take time to blossom.
“Obviously if you achieve your goal, you can be happy,” Schumacher told media including F1, Motorsport Network, Racefans.net, BBC and more. “If you achieve more than your goal, obviously you’ll [also] be happy. If you achieve under your expectations, then you know you have to work harder.
“I would say this year we are really going to have to manage our expectations and really be open-minded on every aspect with everything happening. For me it’s really just, if you know and say OK, Q2 is our goal, which is maybe hard to reach, but if we reach it, then it’s like a win for us.
“[We will] not only observe ourselves, but also to show to the others that we’ll always keep fighting and give our best,” Schumacher said after doing some preparation work with two outings at Abu Dhabi in the 2020 Haas. He said his first outing in the weekend’s FP1 session helped him to get acquainted with the car, and that the subsequent young drivers’ test allowed him to gain experience on long runs.
“Obviously any running is good running and great preparation for me for this year,” said Schumacher. “The FP1 run as great to get that first taste, and then the young driver test [was] for me to work on certain things, such as long runs, which are obviously going to be very important, and just really get used to the team even more, as I do know them already, and get more familiarized with the car.
Discussing 2021 further, Schumacher once more took note of Q2 appearances as a goal for Haas, as the team dedicate focus to 2022 and attempt to manage expectations. “I don’t really know yet how much the build-up of a weekend is, managing the expectations and everything,” said Schumacher.
“That’s also something I’ll for sure have a look at, to try and understand that more. And probably then maybe my answers will be different at the beginning of next year. But definitely, at the moment, I think it is really a goal for every driver, to reach Q2, so definitely that’s also why I say that.
“At the end, maybe that’s going to change this year, I don’t know. But definitely if we have the car to maybe reach Q2, that’s our goal, and that’s what we’re going to work for, and then in the race we obviously have to do the job too.”
He’ll be a rookie in the upcoming season, but asserts that there is little unusual about F1 as he likens it to other junior series’. “It’s obviously great to be driving in Formula 1, and it’s great to be driving with great drivers,” said Schumacher. “But to be honest, it’s not that much different to junior series.
“Obviously we have every single year is a very competitive year, at the moment. Obviously it’s strange the first time you get into FP1, everybody has been driving this season, and you’re the newcomer. But I think that for sure will change next year, and I’ll feel much more established in that position,” summed up Schumacher, who will be one of the three rookie drivers in 2021 alongside teammate Nikita Mazepin and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda.
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