‘Don’t ask me why’: Guenther Steiner on ‘chilled out’ Mick Schumacher

Mick Schumacher's performances have improved significantly of late.

Haas team principal, Guenther Steiner, believes that Mick Schumacher’s improved form of late can be accredited to his more relaxed demeanour since the Canadian Grand Prix.

The German struggled at the start of this season having gone through a scoreless 2021 in an underperforming Haas car.

He partnered fellow rookie Nikita Mazepin last season, but the Russian was dropped ahead of this year amid his country’s invasion of Ukraine, so Kevin Magnussen made a sensational return.

The Dane has scored points four times so far in 2022, two of them coming in the opening two rounds of the season in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

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Schumacher suffered a massive crash in qualifying in Jeddah that ruled his car out of the race, blowing the team’s damage repair budget just two rounds into the season.

The 23-year-old endured another big one in Monaco, but he was thankfully unharmed after both incidents.

Steiner was unimpressed though, and pressure was mounting on Schumacher to keep his seat for next season.

In Montreal, he qualified sixth behind Magnussen as the American side secured their best qualifying result since 2018.

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He fell victim to a reliability failure that put him out of the race, but he finally scored two weeks later in Silverstone, finishing eighth with Magnussen 10th as Haas got both cars in the points for the first time since 2019.

Schumacher again got into the top 10 with a commanding performance in Austria, but neither he nor Magnussen have managed points since.

The 29-year-old made it to Q3 in France, before an engine penalty sent him to the back of the grid, while Schumacher too looked as though he had the pace to get into the top 10, but had his final Q1 lap deleted for a track limits infringement, ruining his weekend.

The confidence, the performances and the consistency have all improved though, and Steiner reckons that began in Montreal.

“No, I would say it started in Canada,” he told GPFans.

“He was, in my opinion, a bit more chilled out, even if he didn’t score points there. 

“I don’t know why that happened, I have no idea, don’t ask me why. 

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“I just felt like he was a little bit more relaxed and then the race after the points came, maybe it’s got to do with that one. 

“It’s difficult to say with these guys, they have been racing for so long, they’ve got poker faces [masking] what they play and what they think.”

Despite the upturn in form, Schumacher does not have a contract heading into 2023, and there are reports that he will no longer have ties to Ferrari next season.

But the calculus to ensure he has a drive with Haas going into next year is a simple one.

“Score more points,” Steiner said simply.

Should Haas not renew Schumacher’s deal, there are still potential opportunities for him at Alpine, AlphaTauri, Alfa Romeo and Williams.

The French side are looking for a replacement for Fernando Alonso following Oscar Piastri’s denial of his promotion from his role as reserve, while Yuki Tsunoda, Zhou Guanyu and Nicholas Latifi are all out of contract at the end of this year.