Guenther Steiner opens up on taking the experience of Nico Hulkenberg while noting that Mick Schumacher didn’t do a bad job.
Haas seemingly has gone back to its old format of having two experienced drivers in their driving seat from the days of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean. The two did do well during the time when the American F1 outfit were firmly in the midfield.
After their departure and the circumstances they found themselves in, it forced them to give up a season to focus on the new regulation. Unfortunately, the timing for Nikita Mazepin and Schumacher was wrong in some ways for their young F1 career.
While Mazepin is totally out due to political situation as well, Schumacher wasn’t retained by Haas as they wanted to go back to their old way of two experienced campaigners. Steiner and Gene so opted to hire Hulkenberg for 2023 alongside Magnussen.
The Dane already made his impact felt in 2022 which may have helped Haas to further push to take in Hulkenberg over the young Schumacher, who Steiner thinks did a good job for them but just lacked that experience package which want to go with.
“We are the youngest team and the last two years we lost a little bit of our momentum when the pandemic came, and so on,” said Steiner to media. “So it’s a question of how can we bring the team back where we want it like in’18 and maybe even ’19, which was better than the last two years? You know, Mick did a good job, but we needed to carry him, and we need somebody to carry us a little bit.
“We waited a long time, because it wasn’t clear, the decision… The market went our way – nobody really picked Hulkenberg up – so we waited a little bit longer than you do normally. But I think this is the best we can do for the team to move up again where we want to be. I think that the experience of multi-years in Formula 1 that never have been with another team than us.
“So by Nico being seen with three or four teams before, experience is key and experience takes time to make, and in the moment, we don’t have time, because we want to move forward. We don’t want to be where we are. Now, we want to get better,” summed up Steiner, who defended Schumacher in the process as well while noting that it was not the German’s fault for the position he was in.
If we look at Schumacher’s career, he always gets better when years go by, he was same in the junior categories and it seemed the same in F1 as well. His first year was curtailed by no development from Haas while the second season, he picked up well but since Magnussen managed to outshine him, he dropped off a bit.
That kind of sealed his fate as Steiner also clarified that Haas did all to help Schumacher in his quest to be retained. “It is not Mick’s fault that we are where we are and we only have ourselves to blame, but we need to come up again and there is a shorter way by taking a guy with a lot of experience, which has done this in multiple teams,” he said “I think as I always said, we treat every every driver fair and we do the best we can.
“And sometimes it wasn’t good enough from the team. I’m fully standing behind that, you know, it wasn’t always him not performing. We had issues. We were not good enough and we need to fix that one. But I think we always gave him the best we could and were always fair, there was equality with the drive of last year and this year. There was always no issue with that one,” summed up Steiner.
Here’s Toto Wolff on F1 podcast about Mick Schumacher
Here’s Sebastian Vettel winning for his move on Kevin Magnussen
Here’s Kevin Magnussen on Nico Hulkenberg