Ralf Schumacher criticized for their questionable strategy during the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix, that deprived his nephew Mick of a better result.
Mick Schumacher is currently fighting for his Formula 1 career and seat at Haas, as the US team has been openly critical about the young German’s performances so far, and they cannot be blamed for that.
Schumacher has been error-prone and consistently beaten by his teammate Kevin Magnussen who came back after one year away from F1 and hit the road running in a car he has never driven before.
In Japan however, Schumacher came back after a crash in FP1 – requiring a chassis change – and put his VF-22 on Q2, albeit 15th place only, but beat Magnussen this time around.
After the race was restarted, the German made progress up the grid, and was running third at some point and even leading for a few laps as other drivers pitted for Intermediate tyres, but Haas kept him out on full Wets hoping for a Safety Car that did not come.
Points were up for grabs
Schumacher started dropping down the order as he struggled with his blue-banded Pirellis and a later-than-ideal pitstop meant he finished the race 17th. Magnussen was 14th.
Schumacher said after the race: “Points were up for grabs and we didn’t manage to get them today, but definitely the speed was there.
“Our car is very strong, especially on inters, but unfortunately we put them on a bit too late. The fact that we were running P3 at some point, and even did our first leading meters in P1 is something positive, he added.
Schumacher’s uncle, Ralf was not impressed with Haas’ strategy and said in his Sky Sports Deutschland column: “A questionable strategy by the Haas team deprived Mick of a better place, because he was doing well in the race.
“Nevertheless, I think Haas is a team that is slowly moving in the right direction. What is uncertain is how much budget will be available next season and what the engine will be like. I think both sides have a future and should take advantage of what they’ve built,” he added, hinting that Haas should retain his nephew for 2023.
“The improvement was clear, especially from Mick’s side,” Ralf went on pleading Mick’s case. “Nevertheless, Haas has to question itself, because mistakes like the one made again in Suzuka mustn’t happen again.
“We also see this at Ferrari. Not every employee there is as good as at Red Bull, for example,” Ralf concluded.
Haas were reactive, not proactive
Haas team boss Guenther Steiner conceded his team erred with their strategy at Suzuka; he said:”We were caught on our backfoot today with the strategy.
“We were too reactive and not proactive, and we ended up down the classification. It’s very difficult to make these decisions as we all know, and afterwards we’re always smarter with hindsight.
“We’ll review what we did and see that we do better next time,” Steiner concluded.
Haas revealed contract talks with Schumacher have started and a decision should be expected this week, as the latter’s costly crash in FP1 did not help him as he fights for his seat.
Nico Hulkenberg is rumored to be targeted as a replacement for Schumacher, while the German has only one chance remaining for a 2023 F1 drive, and that is at Williams replacing Nicholas Latifi.