‘The puppy protection is over’: Ex-F1 driver on Schumacher’s 2022 season with Haas

Mick Schumacher has been joined at Haas by the returning Kevin Magnussen for the 2022 season.

Former Formula 1 driver Christian Danner is pleased that his compatriot Mick Schumacher now has a better benchmark in Kevin Magnussen, as this can help him in his quest for a 2023 contract.

Schumacher comprehensively out-performed Russian team-mate Nikita Mazepin in their rookie year in 2021, out-qualifying him 20-2 and winning the race battle 16-6.

The Banbury-based squad failed to score points in a torrid season last year, but they spent much of it working on this year’s car in anticipation of the potentially game-changing new technical regulations, and changes certainly seem to be afoot.

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Magnussen has returned with aplomb and beat the 23-year-old in qualifying in each of the first two races, scoring points in both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

The German suffered a horrible crash in Jeddah, ruling him out of the race, so his season may not have gotten off to best of starts, but there is a long way to go.

Danner affirms that his fellow countryman can catch the eye of a couple of bigger teams if he is able to attain some strong results alongside the experienced and talented Dane.

“Magnussen is a stroke of luck for Mick. The puppy protection is over. Now he has to show he can assert himself,” he told Bild.

“That wasn’t an issue against [Nikita] Mazepin – every driver on the grid would have won that. Magnussen is a different calibre.

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“Mick has to work his way up to be in front and that will increase his chances for 2023. It’s his last contract year and he has to promote himself.

“Mick has been fighting for a new contract since Bahrain, and Magnussen is helping him with that.”

Schumacher himself has revealed that he will assess his options across the board before his deal expires at the end of 2022, but maintains that it is up to him to perform and earn another run at the henhouse next year.

“Of course it’s important to talk to every top team,” Schumacher said.

“First of all, it depends on my performance. The rest will follow from that.”

Magnussen, who was signed to replace the sacked Mazepin amid Russia’s war on Ukraine, has been reflecting his abilities onto Schumacher, who is confident he can use his team-mate’s experience to learn and grow as a racing driver.

“He just lets the car that is underneath him work. I can learn a lot from that,” he explained.

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“As a team-mate, he’s also very open. He has done long-distance races where he shared a car with other drivers. Together we will both get faster.”

Haas sit fifth in the Constructors’ Standings after the first two rounds of 2022, four points adrift of fourth-placed Alpine.