Mazepin, Schumacher realised nothing to ‘gain’ from ‘running into each other’ – Steiner

Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin both entered Formula 1 as rookies with Haas in 2021.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has revealed that there were improvements in relations within the team during a difficult 2021, after a tense season between drivers Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.

Both drivers entered the Banbury-based team as rookies last season having made the jump from Formula 2, Schumacher as champion of the feeder series.

However, they were presented with a stuttering, underperforming car in what turned out to be their most challenging season yet.

They achieved a best finish of 13th at the Hungarian Grand Prix through the German, one position ahead of his team-mate.

READ: Steiner: Fittipaldi will replace Schumacher at Haas in event of Ferrari call-up

The team-mates almost came to blows at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in June as the Russian appeared to move across on Schumacher, and intra-team relations never seemed comfortable while the pair squabbled over the lower positions.

Steiner has previously compared the presence of two drivers with so little experience to “having children,” but he did see an improvement in the relationship between his racers last year.

“I think the situation last year got a lot better,” Steiner told

“I remember after [one] race, when we sat down, I said, ‘Guys, I cannot always tell you what to do, like other staff.

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“You need to find your own space, both of you, not to [be] damaging either of you, because it isn’t good for either of you, nor for the team’.

Nikita Mazepin, Mick Schumacher and Guenther Steiner in 2021.v1

“So I think they had this talk, and I could see that there was really good improvement. Going forward, would I put my hand in the fire that they will not run in [to each other] again? But I think there is a lot more respect.”

The Haas F1 team principal said he believes that things become easier between team-mates once they understand that running into one another is not going to aid anyone’s cause.

“I think they realise that what they damage most is themselves if they run into each other, because there is no winner,” he affirmed.

“What do you win when you run into your team-mate? There is no gain of it, you just damage the team and yourself. So I think they came to the conclusion that is being young.”

Steiner famously became irate at Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean following the British Grand Prix in 2019 after they had run into each other on the first lap.

This was meant to be an experimental race for the struggling Haas, who had reverted Grosjean’s car back to the very first specification of the year in an attempt to understand what had gone so awfully wrong since.

As a result of the early crash, both cars retired from the race and the team were able to gather sparse data from either the Frenchman or the Dane.

It was one of several precarious moments between the pair in 2019, as their fortunes plummeted from what had been a tremendous season the year before.

Steiner insists that the drivers need to learn for themselves the detrimental impact collisions have, and this is something he can only instil so much.

“I think we had a similar problem a few years ago with Kevin and Romain,” Steiner added.

“I just said, ‘Guys, I can tell you what I want but, in the end, you do need to be grown-up [enough] to know what to do and what not to do to, for your own sake.’”

READ: ‘I’m here to win races’: Mazepin opens up on ‘difficult’ relationship with Schumacher

The 56-year-old warns that persistent neglect of drivers to change their ways out on track will ultimately lead to “changes.”

“‘Not for my sake, because at some stage, it’s like, this is getting old, and then there will be some changes, guys. I’m not going to look at that forever.'”

Haas ended the 2021 Constructors’ Championship last and became the first team since Manor Marussia in 2015 to go scoreless in the entire year.

They have retained Schumacher and Mazepin for 2022.

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