Former Rally driver Walter Röhrl reckons that the pressure of Mick Schumacher’s surname is weighing on him as he tries to find his form in Formula 1.
Schumacher is yet to score points in 29 race entries in F1 since his career began with Haas in 2021, and he has suffered two major accidents in the early going of the 2022 season.
The first arrived in qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, before he crashed again last time out in Monaco, costing the team significant amounts of money against their $140 million budget cap.
The German started in the top 10 in both Imola and Spain, but a collision with Fernando Alonso on the opening lap of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, followed by strategical errors in Barcelona cost him a chance at scoring.
Further, he has been out-qualified five times by team-mate Kevin Magnussen, who has been in the points three times since his return after a year out.
Interestingly, the 23-year-old has finished ahead of his Danish team-mate in four of the seven races, but points win prizes, so the lack thereof for Schumacher, in Röhrl’s eyes, is intensifying the pressure on him and Haas.
“That is currently bitter for Mick Schumacher, because Kevin Magnussen, who has returned to Formula 1 after a one-year break, has him well in hand,” he said.
“That puts additional pressure on him, brings explosiveness into the team and doesn’t make it any easier.”
The two-time World Rally champion warns that, the longer Schumacher keeps making mistakes and costing the team money, the more disenfranchised the American outfit will become with him.
“He simply has far too many accidents at the moment, all of which cost a lot, a lot of money, if nothing comes, they won’t keep going indefinitely. Formula 1 is brutal and cold,” affirmed Röhrl.
Schumacher’s father, Michael, is a seven-time champion and winner of 91 races, so Mick came into the pinnacle of motorsport with eyes firmly on him, which has not helped his cause, particularly in an era when car performance means more.
“There is the expectation that he has to be the big star. It’s hard and heavy,” explained Röhrl.
“It looks like he doesn’t have the outstanding talent that his father had, he drove at the front straight away.
“Whereas in the meantime, of course, times have changed and cars are becoming more and more important and people less and less important.
“It will be seen whether he can withstand the pressure and hold his own at some point.”
Magnussen’s 15 points in 2022 leave Haas eighth in the Constructors’ Standings.