Haas team principal Guenther Steiner did Formula 1 drivers a huge favour by stating rookies are not on his radar, this is great news as Mick Schumacher is a testimony to his desperate and disastrous attempt at trying to run young drivers, he was simply f@cking rubbish at it.
Steiner’s self-induced rookie nightmare, began in 2021, desperate to stay afloat, with Gene Haas disinterested in his F1 dream, no money flowing, Steiner was sent begging for cash and finding plenty of it from Uralkali, the company owned by Nikita Mazepin’s billionaire father, which put the unrated Russian in one car, and somehow convinced Ferrari and Schumacher’s minders (!!!) that the beleaguered team was a safe place for Michael’s son to begin his journey in the big leagues.
That only happened in the aftermath of two veterans – Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean – calling it quits after a fruitless and dangerous season, in which the team produced a horrific car for the pair [the Haas VF20 shitbox nearly killed Romain in Bahrain; while Kevin said it was the worst car he ever drove] and when they heard it was not going to be updated, at all, for 2021, the Dane and Frenchman bailed to North America, but as far away from Haas F1 as possible.
Step in a double dose of rookies, for a team that had never run one since its inception. Hence Mazepin and Schumacher were confirmed for 2021 by a gushing Steiner, heralding a new youthful era for Gene’s American team sponsored by Russian dodgy money, but very soon found out how ill-equipped he was to coach and mentor the inexperienced lads. And predictably they were incident prone in the suicidal car they were tasked to drive.
No surprise, and well documented, there was plenty of metal was bent in the process to which Steiner [cardinal sin number one by a TP] reacted by blaming the drivers from day one, more like throwing them under the bus like little lambs to the slaughter while lamenting endlessly how much they were costing the team. Schumacher was particularly savaged but scant mention was made about the crap car Steiner ticked off every race weekend.
Lil’ Schumacher’s F1 career was destroyed single-handedly by a foul-mouthed bully
Proof of Steiner’s startling behaviour towards Mick is all over the latest season of Netflix’s Drive to Survive and again amplified in the book he has authored. This tale has it that the rude old man with the potty mouth is the hero, the well-spoken and mild-mannered lad the zero. And we wonder why bullies are winning the social media cyberwar!
In 2022, the Ukraine war came along and Mazepin, who was first confirmed to stay, was then sent packing as a result of his president’s actions, as they quickly filled the seat with prodigal Magnussen returning for his experience.
At the time, Steiner made it clear to all and sundry that his team did not want crash-happy Schumacher in the other car, but Ferrari thought differently and made the call to keep Mick in F1 for another year, with Haas. And we know how that panned out; in a nutshell, he is now the Mercedes reserve and watches F1 as we do on TV, albeit from their pit garage.
Thus no surprise Steiner, with his new status as the modern, lovable Charlie Chaplin of F1 is staying away from rookies going forward with elder F1 journeyman, Nico Hulkenberg alongside fellow journeyman teammate K-Mag. Back to the Future in terms of drivers at Haas, and thankfully so for over-eager debutantes perhaps thinking Haas is a good idea to break into the top flight. It ain’t, ask Mick.
Speaking to RacingNews365.com, on a book promo jaunt, capitalising on the Drive to Survive effect that has Steiner as the show’s superstar, substantially more popular than most F1 drivers and hence his book Driving to Survive, providing insight into his f@cking life in the fast lane last year. Go figure…
However it was very good news, during the interview, Steiner triggered all-around relief (for those who really care about race drivers) when he declared: “At the moment, I have no appetite for a rookie. If you ask me now, we’ll be taking experience.”
Steiner: The best way to catch up is with people who know what to do
The Haas team boss added: “With rookies, there’s always a risk and there is an opportunity that you’ll find the ultimate talent, but at the moment, for us as a team, what we need is experienced drivers to bring the team forward because it still needs development.
“We are still the youngest team in F1, and the others are getting better and better, and we need to follow and even catch up. The best way to catch up is with people who know what to do – and that is drivers which have done it [in the midfield] like Nico. He has done it in more than one team which were running in the midfield, and we are trying to get his experience with him giving advice.”
Steiner also scoffed at speculation that Daniel Ricciardo – ditched by McLaren, sidelined from F1 and now Red Bull mascot and team reserve – is on Haas’ list of drivers of interest for 2024: “It’s a little bit too early to speak about [replacing] drivers that have only done three races, but I don’t know what Daniel actually wants to do with his life.
“He needs to see what he wants to do, and maybe at some stage, he asks us if we have a drive for him, but at the moment, we are focused on our driver and giving them the best possibility to do what they need to do. We will see where we are in maybe six to eight months, and you need to make decisions,” revealed Steiner. Rookies beware!