Mick Schumacher in the big Formula 1 interview

Mick Schumacher has lost his place at Haas. We talk to him about the pressure of having to deliver successes, the past season and his plans for the future.

It's official since Abu Dhabi. Nico Hulkenberg will take her place at Haas in 2023. What do you think?

Schumacher: It's disappointing in a way because I think I've done a good job this year. The team made a different decision and I have to accept that. Now I have to focus on the future.

How do you look back on your second season with Haas?

Schumacher: We had our ups and downs, but the trend was always up. I think that counts. It was only my second season in Formula 1. The first one is almost impossible to count as a season as we spent most of the time riding around at the back of the field. I first had to get used to the duels in midfield. Over the course of the season we managed that well and made the most of the situation.

It was no secret in the final races of the season that Haas would choose between Nico Hülkenberg and you. Was this duel always present?

Schumacher: Actually hardly. I could only do my best and race my races. The team knew what I could do.

And Gene Haas' request that they have to deliver points?

Schumacher: That didn't increase the pressure. Points were a goal for all of us. We had enough opportunities to deliver them, but unfortunately there were also enough reasons why it didn't fit too often. We could have scored a lot more points if one or the other situation had turned out differently.

Was that also honored?

Schumacher: In a team, yes.

Was Gene Haas justified in pointing that young drivers with their accidents cost the team more money than experienced drivers?

Schumacher: He's definitely right there. Formula 1 is a sport where you have to push yourself to the limit. In order to find the limit, you sometimes have to go beyond it. There are therefore many people in the scene who say that it takes a young pilot at least three years to fit in. I agree. Formula 1 is of a completely different caliber than any other racing category that I have driven before. I've felt more comfortable every time I've gotten into the car. You could also see that in my positive trend.

Can one generally say that Formula 1 lacks patience with young drivers?

Schumacher: Possibly yes. Of course, I don't know how other young drivers were treated and I can only speak from my own experience. It needs time.

They had a very special first season in 2021 at the back of the field without much pressure with only one opponent.Was that a disadvantage in retrospect?

Schumacher: Of course I would have liked to drive for the points in the first year. Maybe that would have made me better prepared for the second year. Of course the pressure was higher then. I had to solve completely different problems than in the first season.

A new teammate arrived, and on top of that completely new cars?

Schumacher: I knew Kevin a little bit from before and was very happy that he joined the team. I was able to get to know the new cars with an experienced driver at my side. We had a very strong car at the beginning of the year, then the others improved a bit but the car was still good enough to finish in the points.

Why did Magnussen start the season better after a year off?

Schumacher: He started this season without great expectations. He had nothing to lose, but I did. Under the omens, looking back, my approach was probably wrong. We got lost with the car setup at the beginning, but then caught on relatively quickly and made the right decisions. We started again from scratch. From the Canadian GP onwards I had a car that suited me and that we have continuously improved.

Didn't the turning point take place in Baku?

Schumacher: The real breakthrough in voting happened in Canada. At Silverstone I was able to show for the first time that I felt much more comfortable in the car. At some point, Kevin also jumped over to my setup.

What was so wrong before?

Schumacher: There was one part in the car that I don't want to go into too much detail about, but it has to do with the front axle. If you do something about it that looks good on paper, there's a feeling in the car that's hard to control. The car wasn't consistent on that point. We eliminated that. Things have gotten a lot better since then.

Was it more of a coincidence or the result of hard work?

Schumacher: It was a bit of a coincidence. But I've told the engineers before that I'd like to try it. It didn't fit in the old car, but all the better in the new one.

How did the Haas compare to the competition?

Schumacher: We tried to put together a package that works on the majority of the tracks. But there were one or two races that demanded maximum downforce where the positive effect didn't materialize for other reasons. For example in Mexico. The fluctuations came from the fact that we didn't have such a wide spectrum in which to move with our car. That's why we had to get the maximum out of the races where things were going well.

So like Mercedes at a lower level?

Schumacher: I think Mercedes still did well compared to us when they were doing badly.

This year there were completely new cars for everyone: how did you feel about the new generation?

Schumacher: Weight is the biggest factor. And porpoising was a whole new problem. If we take away these factors, because they are either no longer there or are dominant, the cars drive very differently than the previous generation. It starts with the tire, which behaves completely differently in terms of wear and tear. We had a lot more problems up front this year. Last season it was more the rear tire. It was a situation that caught everyone unprepared. That's why we had already reached the maximum in many points. Then we had to say: We would like to go on, but we can't.

How long does it take to understand this new piece of sports equipment?

Schumacher: With large teams, this will certainly happen faster because they have more opportunities to try something out. Red Bull or Ferrari have 20 people who can focus on a specific topic. For us it was just one or two. That's why we couldn't rush anything and it took longer to get the maximum out of it. Since we had a very strong car at the beginning, we were able to get through the longer learning phase quite well.

In Formula 2 and 3, they achieved a significant increase in their second year. Was that the same in Formula 1?

Schumacher: There is no further development between teams in the smaller formulas. You feel the improvement as a driver much more clearly for yourself. In Formula 1, the teams continue to develop. We brought a large aero package, others made several. That's why it's hard to measure yourself. If another team improves and yours doesn't, you feel like you're going backwards, even though you've gotten better as a driver. It was important for me that we regularly got better compared to ourselves.

Haas gave up two seasons to develop the 2022 as early as possible and thus enter the season with a head start over the competition. Did the tactic work?

Schumacher: I think the tactic worked. We had a very strong car at the start of the season. Whether it would have been possible to build such a car without sacrificing two years, I cannot judge. That is a question for Guenther Steiner.

Did you recently have a plan B?

Schumacher: Plan A was always to stay in Formula 1.

And now?

Schumacher: I definitely want to stay in Formula 1 and now I'm looking at the options that are available. And hopefully I'll pick the right one.I would love to prove everyone who doesn't believe in me wrong. I know what I can do, I've proven it in the junior categories and I see no reason why I shouldn't be able to do the same in Formula 1.

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