Guenther Steiner has stood his ground after comments from Ralf Schumacher regarding the comments from the former after Mick’s latest F1 crash.
A non-face-off war of words erupted between R Schumacher and Haas team principal Steiner, after the later criticised his drivers – most notably M Schumacher. This was related to the accident caused by the German in FP3 of Hungarian GP.
As we know, Haas is no easy car to drive, which is largely undeveloped since the start of 2021 and even troubled seasoned veterans Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen in 2020. It is as you’d expect the weakest car on the grid this year by quite some margin.
While placing two rookies at the hands of a car that is deprived, to say the least, may have been the cheaper option, from a sporting point of view, it has emphasised just how weak the car is. Whilst Schumacher is backed by Ferrari which gives him significant leverage and standing amid some backing, teammate Mazepin is not but is probably the sole reason the Haas F1 team are still on the grid.
It is he who brings in millions of pounds from title sponsor, Uralkali which for 2021 is ultimately what the team are living off. With funds so tight, this is where the problem at Haas in 2021 stems from. Two rookies driving a borderline undrivable car is only going to end one way. Plenty of barrier action. This is expensive and is costing Haas dearly this season. Both drivers have had their equal share of costly mistakes.
Mazepin took most of his at the start of the season but now seems to have matured into the seat and has some momentum under his belt. But recently it has been Schumacher who has been exploring the armco of different circuits. Incidents in Monaco, France and now Hungary have riled team boss Steiner who is clearly under heavy pressure from those above him to manage the budget efficiently.
But in this case as noted above, it was after Schumacher’s FP3 crash in Hungary that tension really began. The German did exactly what Steiner had been so critical off which left him seething on Saturday morning of the Hungarian GP. The words of Haas chief triggered a response from Ralf, who leaped to the defence of his nephew and went on the attack against the team boss and his underperforming team.
In a post-race weekend media briefing which included FormulaRapida.net, Steiner stood his ground and noted that he is not certain how the media played out his comments, but Haas his F1 outfit to run and he will do it, the he wants to do it.
Steiner (during Hungarian GP weekend) – “Mick in the last five races had quite a few big ones. If you have a spin or something like this, that happens. But these accidents are quite heavy. It’s a lot of money, and for no good reason. So we have to work on it, to get better on that one. And, obviously, the budget is the budget, and you need to stick to it. You always have to have ideas how to get around it, when you have these accidents.
“At the moment, obviously we feel it, but we can still deal with it. But soon we will be in a position where it’s like, yeah, we need to find new ways to overcome this. Because they’re getting a little bit too frequent and too heavy. We make too many mistakes, that is the problem – or I would say, in defence of Nikita, I shouldn’t use the plural, because in the last races he behaved very well. He did very well. He didn’t do any damage or anything. And Mick, just the last races, we had some accidents, which we need to get better at.”
“From our side, we just have to make plans how we spend our money. We know exactly what we are doing on parts and this, but to deal with the drivers, it’s mainly just maybe sitting down and explain the big picture again, that sometimes you need to take risk, but you take risk if there is opportunity. If there is no opportunity, I never take risks personally, because there’s nothing to be gained. And I think at the moment, we know that there is not a lot to be gained, especially not in FP3, and we shouldn’t take this risk in FP3.
“I mean I think they know that by now and an explanation again hopefully helps, I mean we have done that before and for me, it’s like if you want to continue the rule is to get better and this is part of it. It’s not only how fast you go but how you manage your resources, how you manage your people and how you work with people. Its not only one thing, it’s not only a lap time, it’s a lot of things because you also need to have a vision, what is afterwards? Is it worth the risk as I said, if there is no opportunity there’s no point in taking the risk.”
Ralf Schumacher (to Motorsport-Total) – “I must say I’m very surprised how Gunther Steiner is behaving. He has said himself that he has not spoken to Mick at all afterwards and then goes to the media to criticise his driver who had already apologised. Mick can do no more and if it does happen… You do something like that internally, not externally. I’m very, very disappointed. If we all do it externally, then we too can be honest: Haas has been at the back of the grid for three years.”
Steiner (in response to Schumacher) – “No, I don’t want to add anything, I do my things how I do them, I’m not asking neither you nor others how I should manage a race team and I think I did pretty well out of it so, this is not a criticism not that you get it wrong I’m not criticising you or Ralf in this one I just do it my own way how I do things and I didn’t speak badly about Mick in the media I said it was getting too much, whatever the media said about it I didn’t read the article and I will not , whatever was said, I said it’s getting quite, that there was quite a few crashes lately which are not needed which are not good for anybody and that was it. That’s the only thing that I said the rest of it: I sort my house out how I want.”
Clearly emotions were high when both were talking, and they feel passionately about their arguments. Having a name like Schumacher in your team, driving for you, bears huge responsibility and a level of expectation and performance that Ralf clearly feels the team are not meeting for his nephew. The second half of the season looms and Haas will continue to battle themselves at the back, it’s just a case of whether they can find some performance for 2022, if not, you wonder where the team’s ambition lies.
The story was written by Ollie Pattas
Here’s Mick Schumacher on his dad’s upcoming documentary
Here’s Guenther Steiner on Mick Schumacher’s performance in Hungary