Guenther Steiner claimed Haas had to carry Mick Schumacher during his time with the team, and signing Nico Hulkenberg was because they needed someone to rely on instead.
Mick Schumacher Formula 1 career came to an end after just 43 grands prix all raced for Haas who replaced him by compatriot Nico Hulkenberg for 2023, after a season that saw the young Schumacher fall prey to numerous costly errors that hit the team hard.
Haas team boss Guenther Steiner explained the reasons behind letting Schumacher go, despite claiming that the driver did a good job with the team.
“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,” he said, quoted by F1’s official website.
“”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,” he explained.
Decision to replace Schumacher wasn’t clear
The decision to replace Schumacher came late in the 2022 F1 season, ahead of the season finale in Abu Dhabi, and Steiner explained the reason behind that.
“We waited a long time, because it wasn’t clear, the decision,” he said. “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.”
Haas had a decent season in 2022 compared to previous ones, the highlight being Kevin Magnussen’s pole position in Sao Paulo, his first as well as the team’s.
Looking ahead to 2023, Steiner said: “If you think what we did from last year to this year, when we made a good step. It was not stable, we are up and down all the time, but I think that is when you compare where we were to again fighting with the big boys.
Steiner: I need to hope
“If I think back in ’21 when we restarted after ’20 where we really shut down the company and really slowed down on everything, I tasked Simone Resta… ‘Build our technical team up again’.
“You cannot do that in two months, but he did a fantastic job, got people back in [so we had] the same level of staffing and we really started to develop only end of April – we developed, but not full steam, so I think this year, we are more on a normal path, we had a full technical team in place for next year’s car, so hopefully we can make the next step,” he added.
“Hopefully in the wind tunnel, we make the gains we wanted to make, our targets, we fulfil them, so I hope the other ones do not do a better job than us. I need to hope; I think we’re doing a better job than last year, but I don’t know.
“If the others do a very good job, we’re behind, but I think I’m pretty confident, or cautiously confident, that we’ll make the next step,” the Haas boss concluded.