Haas must “prove we are on the right track with the drivers” in 2022 – Steiner

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Haas needs to demonstrate it took the right decision with the two new drivers it hired last year during the 2022 F1 season, says team principal Guenther Steiner.

Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin made their F1 debuts at Haas in 2021. The pair endured a tough season in an uncompetitive car, and neither scored points.

Steiner believes his drivers should be to contend for points finishes this year in the VF-22, early renderings of which were revealed last week. “The expectation is to be able to fight for points, to fight with the other drivers which are in Formula 1,” he said.

“They had one year of their rookie year, we always were very open about the expectations last year were not high. But it gave them the opportunity to learn, to establish them in Formula 1.

“Now it’s the year we have to prove that we are on the right track with the drivers.”

Schumacher comfortably had the beating of Mazepin in their first season together. He was emphatically the quicker of the pair in qualifying and almost invariably finished ahead of his team mate too.

However Steiner does not intend to impose a running order on his two racers. “Both drivers are equal in our team,” he confirmed. “They’ve got equal status contacts, so there will be no leader.

“The leader will each race come out [from] who does a better job in practice and qualifying. Then when you do that, then in the race obviously you start in front, then you are automatically in a better position.

“But the starting point every weekend is the same. There will be no ‘number one’ and ‘number two’ driver.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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23 comments on “Haas must “prove we are on the right track with the drivers” in 2022 – Steiner”

  1. But the starting point every weekend is the same. There will be no ‘number one’ and ‘number two’ driver.

    Because we don’t want to alienate the money man… but in reality if 1 driver starts to hit the points consistently (ahem, Schumacher) then it would probably change to some degree.

    1. @captainpie

      To be honest. If Schumacher manages to prove himself as an upcoming talent in F1, I don’t see him sticking around at Haas too long. Steiner knows that the talentless pay driver will be bank rolling the team for the longer future, so don’t set Schumacher up as the #1 driver in the team, or they’d be risking a pay cheque.

      1. I can’t see where Schumcher goes though? And I think this is another big reason why Ferrari shipped a bunch of it’s engineers and designers over to Haas, to give Mick a decent car until a Ferrari seat is available. I really can’t see the two Charleses head anywhere any time soon.

        1. Yeah, both Leclerc and Sainz could be at Ferrari for several years. What are the chances Schumacher is willing to wait until 2026-27 for a shot at Ferrari? He could easily find a seat at Mercedes or Red Bull if he proves fast enough in the midfield.

    2. It’s funny to even hear him talking about a number 1 and number 2 setup. They are miles away from needing to think about things like that! When you’re not fighting for a title, there’s no benefit to it – you just let your drivers go out there and hope to get lucky with a good finish.

      1. As with all articles like these, he was probably asked a question about having a number 1 and number 2 driver, and he is merely answering the question.

    3. Which one is the money man? Both are pay drivers and both are terrible. If Haas makes a good car they will jettison both of these guys.

      1. There’s no comparison between the 2, and if schumacher is terrible we have a few terrible drivers on the grid.

  2. Now it’s the year we have to prove that we are on the right track

    He should have just stopped there. Another year on the bottom rung of the ladder and it’s hard to imagine the team won’t be sold next year.

    1. @skipgamer I suppose it depends on how much the Mazepin’s want to stay in F1. He’s wealthy enough to do a Stroll, but is he savvy enough to build something like AM F1?

      1. I don’t think you need to be “savvy enough to build something like AM F1” to make money as a team owner in F1.
        With the cost cap, the (hopefully) fairer distribution of monies, limited number of teams, and the entry fee, you in effect have value as if it were a limited franchise.

        Stroll has taken a more risky bet by investing heavily and aiming for the top prize. His risk/reward bet is much more extreme IMO.

    2. Who knows, maybe the team has already effectively been sold, only to wait for the russian flag to be able to offically compete again @skipgamer.

      I guess that fits with remarks about the team keeping a close eye on developments in the east of Europe and possible further sanctioning since they will hopefully make it harder to get money through Mazepin to Haas

      1. #ForceRussiaF1

  3. This is the year where Mick must prove himself, fully agreed, he’s either going to prove he’s worthy of F1 or fall by the wayside.

    Mazepin is there not for performance, but for money. So it doesn’t matter as long as Haas needs the cash, he’s proven his worth. Honestly what worries me most is if the Haas is performing better, how will he handle wheel to wheel racing. He’s been fairly well back last year, but the few times he did clash with someone (mostly Mick), it got pretty scary. I remember some scary incidents in F2 as well from Nikita, so it’s not like it was unprecedented. If that continues if he’s in the (lower) midfield, I’m scared for those around him.

  4. Has anyone interviewed Zhou yet? I haven’t seen any article about him anywhere after the announcement

    1. I think there was something, but I can’t tell you where I read it. It definitely wasn’t anything interesting but a brief typical PR schooled talk. We’ll see him “talk” on the race day.

    2. I understand l’Équipe is doing an interview.
      They just submitted the question, and are now waiting for the official translation of the answers.

  5. The problem Mick has is that there is now a narrative (rightly or wrongly) that Mazepin is absolutely awful. If he doesn’t beat him every week by a considerable margin, it looks bad on Mick.

    In reality, we don’t know how fast either are because the 2021 Haas was so bad and neither have gone up against a known quantity. Is Mazepin as slow as people think or was he made to look worse by coming up against a really fast team mate? Hopefully we’ll learn a bit more this year.

    1. I don’t think Mick has much to worry in this department. He out-qualified Mazepin 20-0, finished races ahead 11-3 and the average qualifying gap was between a few tenths to almost a second throughout. No matter how bad that Haas was, Mick had Mazepin’s number and then some. Outside of Verstappen, there wasn’t anyone who that consistently beat their teammate last season.

  6. Maybe they should try the wrong track…
    Use Bahrain’s outer loop while everyone else uses the main circuit, and they might get close to the front 🤭

  7. The problem Haas has is that one of the drivers is on track to Ukraine.

  8. If Mick scores a point or two in the championship will prove Steiner was right on his bet for 2022 and Haas will sell the team to Mazepin’s father. I would love to see MS in RedBull or Mercedes if that happens. I imagine the Schumacher name is in good terms inside Mercedes. My question is if MS has the talent for such move.

    1. @f180 My guess on where Mick would go after Haas if there was no room at Ferarri would be Aston Martin in Vettel’s seat. As you point out, he probably has a good relationship with Merc, who are closely aligned with AM, and he also has Seb as his mentor which would help ease into the team quite well I think. It would be ironic to go from one team (for all intents and purposes) run by a billionaire for his son to race to another but looking at the field, I think it is the most likely outcome unless something really unexpected happens in one of the top teams.

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