Toto Wolff claims Guenther Steiner doesn’t ‘think so well’

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has rushed to the defence of Mick Schumacher, who is set to join the Silver Arrows for 2023.

Mick Schumacher had been in a tough battle to keep his seat at Haas for a number of race weekends now, with team owner Gene Haas suggesting in early October that he would need to see better results from his driver if he wanted to stay with them for 2023.

Team principal Guenther Steiner told reporters that he believed in Schumacher’s potential, but stated that unfortunately a team the size of Haas cannot afford to put a driver in the car that is inexperienced and prone to mistakes.

Schumacher will be replaced by 35-year-old Nico Hulkenberg as Steiner searches for immediate success in 2023, paired with old enemy Kevin Magnussen.

Toto Wolff has suggested that the Haas boss’ treatment of the young German has been slightly harsh, cracking a joke at Steiner’s expense.

READ: Nico Hulkenberg says he has no sympathy for Mick Schumacher

“That’s his management style. He comes from the mountains, the air is thinner there. You can’t always think so well,” joked the Austrian.

“It’s authentic – and I’ve already seen that this style can work. Different paths lead to success.”

Schumacher has been linked to a move to Audi when they complete their takeover of Sauber in 2026, and Wolff has hinted that Schumacher might be able to bide his time at Mercedes, replacing Nyck de Vries as the Silver Arrow’s reserve driver.

“He deserves a place on the grid and not as a test driver,” argued the Mercedes boss.

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“Maybe there is an intermediate step in which we play a role.

“He fits well. I think he deserves a place in F1. We have to see if we can do something.

“We have seen it before with drivers who took a gap year. There are also testing opportunities and you work together with engineers.

“It is a completely different kind of effort than that he is used to. You then form a different view of things and you build up a lot of experience.”

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Schumacher has impressed at times, however his inconsistency and proneness to mistakes has cost him his place in Formula 1 for now, with Hulkenberg proving a more reliable option for Haas.

Alpine have also been rumoured to be an option for Schumacher, with Oscar Piastri on the move to McLaren and Jack Doohan set to take part in a separate racing series next season alongside a role with the team.

Schumacher has refused to accept that his F1 career is over, and hopes to return to the grid as soon as possible.