‘If he beats Kevin, that means something’ – Steiner on Schumacher’s second year in F1

Mick Schumacher has been joined at Haas by Kevin Magnussen after Nikita Mazepin's sacking following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Guenther Steiner reckons that Mick Schumacher will reap the rewards of having Kevin Magnussen as his team-mate at Haas this season.

Magnussen made a surprising return to Formula 1 earlier this week as he replaced Nikita Mazepin, whose contract was terminated in light of Russia’s “unprovoked” and “barbaric” invasion of Ukraine.

It makes for a significant change to what Schumacher was originally going to have to deal with alongside the 23-year-old Russian who, having had his seat paid for by oligarch father Dmitry, never managed to make an efficacious impact on the sport.

However, he now faces a distinguished, experienced and quick racer in Magnussen, who has previously spent six years in F1 with a combination of McLaren, Renault and Haas.

He returns to the Banbury squad having departed at the end of 2020 after four years with them, and Steiner was asked if the added pressure will help in Schumacher’s development.

“Absolutely,” he told Reuters.

“Because if he beats Kevin, that means something. Competition is good to get better. It’s like in a business, competition is good. If you’re the only one it’s too easy almost and then you wake up one morning and you’re not around anymore.”

The return of the Dane will provide a much less ambiguous target for the 22-year-old compared with what he had before, and the Austrian predicts that Magnussen’s experience will reflect well on his younger team-mate.

“I think Mick is happy to have somebody to learn from and to have a benchmark. We can see where he is and also he can improve,” he added.

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“It’s a benefit for him as well because (he has) an experienced driver looking at data, (he will be) working with somebody who knows this car from driving very similar cars for six years. It’s very good.”