‘Obviously Mick cannot’: Guenther Steiner defends Nico Hulkenberg signing

Mick Schumacher will be replaced by Nico Hulkenberg in 2023, as the team look for a more experienced driver line up.

Haas have gone full circle with their approach in Formula 1 in recent years, as Guenther Steiner has now claimed that his team will no longer rely on rookies for results.

2021 saw the team host two rookies, in the form of Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher and although the Russian was sacked after only a year in the sport, Schumacher was given a second season with the team.

2023 however will see Haas be the home of two experienced drivers, as the team place their trust in a driver line up of Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg to fire them back up the grid.

While Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner have both been publicly very critical of young Schumacher, the Haas team principal has admitted that the team’s fall from point scoring grace is not the fault of the German.

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“As a team we started well in Formula 1, then we stagnated and then we actually fell back. And that wasn’t Schumacher’s fault,” explained Steiner.

“We are no longer the same Haas team as we were in early 2021. We knew that season was going to be very difficult because we focused our resources on the development of the new car for 2022.

“It wasn’t until this year that we made progress again, but our season has been one of ups and downs.”

Nico Hulkenberg has been serving as a reserve driver in F1 since his departure from Renault, where he was replaced by Esteban Ocon.

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The 35-year-old has taken part in 184 races as a Formula 1 driver, which gives him experience greater than the majority of drivers on the grid, making him a perfect option to help Haas recover from their previous two difficult seasons.

Steiner has once again admitted that Schumacher’s lack of experience compared to his replacement is not his fault but has suggested the smaller teams like Haas cannot afford to hang their hopes on potential.

“Obviously Mick cannot give us the wealth of experience of a Hulkenberg,” said the Haas boss.

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“Experience takes time so of course that’s something we can’t blame Mick for. But time is exactly what we don’t have at the moment.

“We have to assert ourselves in the midfield, and for that we need drivers like Nico and Kevin Magnussen.”

Schumacher’s sacking from Haas has not deterred Audi from expressing their interest in securing the German’s services in 2026, as the F1 newcomers look to add a driver to their ranks that matches their nationality to add with sponsorship at notoriety in Germany.