Mick Schumacher and his Haas teammate Nikita Mazepin clashed a number of times in their rookie year. Team boss Guenther Steiner hopes that the feud in the new season will not cost any championship points.04.02.2022
The hottest duel of the past season was fought at the back of the field. Poison arrows flew back and forth several times between Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin. Team leader Guenther Steiner had his hands full to avoid a total escalation of his two rookies. The aggression mostly came from Mazepin - both in the duels on the piste and in the verbal attacks off the track.
Mick Schumacher tried not to be distracted by his teammate's games. In the qualification duel he was clearly ahead with 19:3. Should the Haas racer return to midfield in 2022, there should soon be clarity even after World Cup points. However, further defeats will certainly not improve Mazepin's mood. So team boss Steiner should continue to keep his hot-headed pilots on a short leash.
"The second half of the season wasn't that hard anymore. The two boys have spoken out. I hope it doesn't get better again," says the South Tyrolean optimistically. "When you're fighting for points, you have to be careful not to lose them in a battle against your teammates. The points are for the team and for the driver, so I hope things continue well."
Announcement only during the test drives
According to Steiner, there were no joint meetings during the non-racing period. So it cannot be assumed that the two brawlers will suddenly start the new season as friends. A critical review with the team leadership or announcements for the new year have also been dispensed with so far. "It was a very long season with 22 races. We were glad that we hadn't seen each other for a while," joked the boss.
But Steiner doesn't want to just let the duel go: "I'll explain to the guys what's important and what's not. We'll do that during the test drives. We'll have enough time there. If I tell them something in December, then "The guys will forget that by February. But there won't be a big speech. Hopefully we'll see that the car is good in testing. Then it's much easier to explain things like that."
Haas is not only expecting an increase in the new season from the car. The pilots also have to improve after the rookie season. As in the previous year, Schumacher and Mazepin can no longer rely on puppy protection. Above all, the error rate, which was still very high at the beginning of their F1 career, must be reduced. If there are too many crashes, there could ultimately be a lack of budget for the further development of the car.
Usual Schumacher increase in the second year?
"They had a good opportunity to learn in Formula 1 last year. And now they want to implement what they have learned," says Steiner. "You've seen quite a lot of progress with Mick in the last few races. In the junior series he always made a huge leap in his second year. But there are far fewer races in the lower formulas than in Formula 1. So it could be be that he has already made the usual leap for the second year. Of course we would all be very happy if another huge improvement follows."
By the way, the team management did not issue a concrete objective in the form of points or placements. The connection to the midfield must be restored in any case. And after a year without a top ten result, something should finally happen on the team account. Neither Schumacher nor Mazepin have had a single point in their F1 career so far.
"The drivers have the same goal as us. We want to fight for points. And I think we can do it," said Steiner confidently. "There is now something like a spirit of optimism. Almost like what we experienced during the first test for Haas before the 2016 season. We have not just taken one step back in recent years, but several. Now something is coming something new. I hope we're back to where we were in 2016. The guys are in a good mood and very motivated. Everyone's looking forward to the tests and the first races."