‘Curse and blessing’: Guenther Steiner opens up on ‘failed marriage’ with Mick Schumacher

Mick Schumacher's contract at Haas was not extended beyond the 2022 season, with the German having been dropped for 2023.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has likened his relationship with former driver Mick Schumacher to a “failed marriage”, with the 23-year-old having been axed from the Americans after a turbulent two years.

Schumacher endured a mixed two seasons with Haas, with his rookie campaign in 2021 having been spent at the back of the grid, after Haas effectively reused their 2020 car for a second season.

The Americans package was much better last season, with it having been capable of points finishes, something that Schumacher struggled to deliver.

It was clear that the son of Michael Schumacher was pushing incredibly hard, with him having crashed heavily twice early in the season.

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Ultimately, his contract wasn’t extended beyond 2022, with the German having been replaced by fellow native Nico Hulkenberg.

“There’s a reason why we took Nico,” Steiner told Auto Motor und Sport.

“It’s not because we love him. There’s a performance reason.”

Steiner was heavily criticised during Schumacher’s time with the team for how the young driver was treated, with the Italian himself having admitted that he got “frustrated” with the driver, following his huge crashes at Saudi Arabia and Monaco.

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“With two write-offs, you get frustrated. And sometimes you make statements that you don’t really think about,” said Steiner.

“I know myself. The name Schumacher is both a curse and a blessing. And everyone believes they have the right to a say.

“But I say that if you don’t contribute financially or otherwise, but you just have an opinion, then you don’t have any risk.

“I always have an opinion when I watch football about who should go where,” he added.

“But my opinion doesn’t count.”

Despite having been critical of Schumacher’s performances, Steiner does admit that the driver “improved a lot” last season, with him having been very impressive at the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone in particular.

He doesn’t expect himself and Schumacher to have “any problems” going forward despite the fact that the Americans dropped him, with Steiner having revealed an interesting fact about their relationship.

“My relationship with Mick was better in the second half of the season than the year and a half before that,” he said.

“I think we can look each other in the eye without any problems.”

Schumacher has, of course, found himself an excellent gig for 2023, as Mercedes’ reserve driver, whilst he’s also been added to McLaren’s reserve pool.

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Steiner thinks the move is great for Schumacher, with it giving him the chance to remain “present” in the sport, meaning he won’t be “quickly forgotten”.

“I don’t know the contract, how much he drives in the simulator, how much he tests,” he said. “But it’s not a bad decision.

“I think it gives him the opportunity to be present in Formula 1. You know how F1 is: if you aren’t here, you are quickly forgotten and it stays that way.”