Schumacher fails to distinguish himself after unexpected change of team mate

2022 F1 team mate battles

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If Nicholas Latifi suffered the embarrassment of being beaten to a points finish by a substitute driver in the same car as him in Italy, the ignominy Mick Schumacher experienced in Brazil was little better.

While team mate Kevin Magnussen brought joy to Haas by claiming a shock pole position for the sprint race, Schumacher started from the tail end of the field. Both drivers had a crack on slick tyres on a drying track at the end of Q1, but Schumacher wasn’t able to get his up to temperature in time, and ended up almost two-and-a-half seconds off his team mate.

This was far from a typical reflection of their relative performances, but it was unhelpfully timed for Schumacher, whose departure from the team was confirmed following that race weekend. A year earlier, Schumacher had been conclusively the team’s better driver, and beat previous team mate Nikita Mazepin by similar margins in some wet qualifying sessions.

Mazepin’s enforced departure from the team halfway through pre-season testing, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted Haas to sever ties with his father’s company, meant Schumacher suddenly acquired a new, much more experienced and faster team mate in the form of Magnussen. This offered both an opportunity to learn and a tough new benchmark.

Mick Schumacher, Haas, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2022
Schumacher didn’t race in Jeddah after crash
Magnussen set the bar high from the off, delivering Haas’ best result for four years in his first race back. Schumacher, who was knocked out in Q2 after lapping half a second off Magnussen, was hit by Esteban Ocon soon after the start and finished out of the points. It got worse for Schumacher at the next weekend in Saudi Arabia, where he missed the race after smashing up his car in qualifying.

While Magnussen picked up points scores in three of the opening four races, a narrative quickly developed around when Schumacher would do the same. Nine races in he was still on zero, but while he had added another costly crash in Monaco and hit Alonso after qualifying in the top 10 at Imola, luck had gone against him at times too. He qualified on the third row in Canada and was running seventh when a hydraulics failure put him out.

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The breakthrough came at Silverstone, unexpectedly, as he laboured with a misaligned steering wheel in qualifying and started 19th on the grid. From there he climbed to eighth in the race. Better followed in Austria where he claimed sixth, urging the team to let him past Magnussen whom he felt was holding him up, and moving ahead after his team mate developed an engine problem.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Interlagos, 2022
Magnussen brought joy to Haas with shock sprint race pole
It seemed like Schumacher was finally on his way. But amid murmurs of discontent over his performance at Haas – and especially the damage bill he generated – he failed to build on that breakthrough and despite reaching the chequered flag in all of the remaining races he never featured in the points again.

It would be easy to exaggerate the performance difference between the two drivers over this second phase of the season, for Magnussen added just three points to his score in the same time. From their extreme starting positions in Brazil they ended up separated by just three cars on the grand prix grid. Schumacher’s race was ended by Daniel Ricciardo’s careless move, though Schumacher inflicted much the same on Latifi in the finale.

Schumacher’s performance alongside Magnussen ultimately failed to make a convincing case for Haas to keep him. The crashes early in the season especially did not help his cause and Magnussen scored over twice as many points. But it wasn’t a rout: Schumacher spent more laps ahead of his team mate and when both cars took the chequered flag he was usually ahead, and it’s not hard to imagine how another team might have looked at those results and decided he was worth another chance.

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Unrepresentative comparisons omitted. Negative value: Schumacher was faster; Positive value: Magnussen was faster

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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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34 comments on “Schumacher fails to distinguish himself after unexpected change of team mate”

  1. Well, I feel like I’ve said all of this before but it bears repeating since this is an article dedicated to young Mick.

    Schumacher looked poor when Magnussen arrived. Really poor. And this is the consequence of Haas chasing money and putting two rookies in the car. No experience, and no real benchmark. Mazepin was terrible and Mick learned almost nothing.

    But in the second half of the season there was really nothing between them. Racefans own stats are telling – Mick ran more laps ahead and finished ahead in more races. In reality they tended to be running in formation towards the back.

    Mick was hard done by to lose his seat. Granted, he isn’t a future world champion, but neither is Magnussen (or Hulkenberg).

    The pole was a fluke and the points gap is flattered by the slow start a few of the other teams had under the new rules. Bottas at Alfa has benefitted from the same.

    Hopefully the Mercedes reserve opportunity works out for him and he gets the chance to stay close to F1 for a little longer. A Mercedes race seat would be a bit much but perhaps one of the smaller teams considers picking him up again.

    1. Don’t agree with anything you said. He was not hard done by anyone. He didn’t do the job required of him and he crashed way too often. If anything is misleading is the stats of running ahead and finishing ahead more often because of the FIA’s ridiculous obsession with KM’s endplate.

      The pole was not a fluke. All the grandees could have done the lap KM did in Q3 yet didn’t while he put it all together. It’s not single lap qualy of the 2000’s when it was all the luck of the draw. And where was Mick while KM put the thing into Q3 on merit? Rubbish and last.

      The gap was all down to Mick not a slow start of the other teams. He had the same opportunities KM had to score heavily yet all he did was crash heavily. The excuse of 2021 vs Mazespin doesn’t hold water when he was up against a driver who didn’t even drive F1 at all in 2021 and only jumped into the car right before the season start on a short notice.

      To sum up I understand the nostalgia element with Mick but this apple has fallen far away from the tree. He may have MSC’s work ethic and smarts but in terms of talent he’s not even in the same hemisphere. Maybe after a spell as Merc reserve he can work up to be an average quality F1 driver but nothing more. And Haas did exactly the right thing as far as their interests are concerned

      1. There’s no schumacher nostalgia, they’re not at the same level, but he is good enough to be on the grid, like ralf was, while not being champion material: he caught up with magnussen by mid season and the only reason he ended up behind on points was his slow start, he had after all only 1 full season of experience at the time.

        1. You are hilarious dude. That 16-6 in qualifying to Magnussen is telling. Mick is miles slower than even Ralf. It’s not even funny. Even Palmer did better🤣

        2. @esploratore1 He’s not even Ralf-level in terms of talent at least from what we know so far. I saw Ralf arrive in 1997 and immediately be fast. Not so with Mick. If anything, Ralf lacked those traits of MSC that Mick does possess the work ethic and smarts. If you combine the strong points of Mick and Ralf you get close to MSC. And with regards to your second point, even in the second half of the season Mick was erratic and didn’t deliver the goods. As for the first half, I already replied to the poster above why the 2021 excuse for his slow start to the season doesn’t hold water.

          1. Agree. But seriously people needs to stop disrespecting former drivers by comparing them with current ones. Especially if they haven’t observed the former’s career. In 10 years time Mick would probably be known as a Bruno Senna level talent.

    2. A lower mid field time like Haas has few chances over a season to score and Mick only managed it twice in two seasons. Yeah, there are mitigating circumstances sometimes but when it counted KMag got it done.

    3. David, you are way wrong.

      – Micks first season: He had the privelige to learn without being matched against an experienced team mate. When had that last happened. Be he failed to capitalize on it. He didn’t outperform Nikita with a good margin. He crashed too much. In 2020 when the car was also bad Kevin and Romain still put it in better results than last.

      – Mick was only on occasions better than Kevin in second half. Kevin had 3 black/orange flags. Was rearended with a broken diffuser, was crashed into. That gave Mick some free races.

      – The pole was not a fluke. 8 drivers had a shot at it in Q3. Also, Mick had the exact same possibilities to be the one who did the pole. He even had more time to adjust to slicks in Q1. But he didn’t capitalize.

      And Mick continued to wreck cars in 2022.

      Kevin scored 9 times. (6 races, 3 sprints). Mick only scored twice.

      The races where Kevin got black/orange flags was from front positions. Arguably quite some points were out the window on that account.

      muck counter he should have beaten Nikita

      1. “He didn’t outperform Nikita with a good margin.”

        Tf are you talking about? He was 0,689s faster than Mazespin in qualifying and 0,798s faster in race conditions on average. How is that not outperforming someone with a good margin?

      2. @Jens : 2021: Micks first season was in the 2020 car that was already bad in 2020. Of course they didn’t shine.
        2022: Second year against KMag: Wasn’t as bad as the year Ricciardo had. The crashes are what they are, but maybe the Haas has a bit of a predictability issue. Maybe the car is more suited to the driving style of KMag. Maybe Haas needed a better coach to guide the inexperienced, instead of the barking dog at the Pitt-wall.
        The loose endplates on KMags cars were mostly KMags doing, and had it been Micks, he would’ve been scolded for it.
        The pole in Brasil was a fluke: K-Mag failed miserably on his two timed attempts on Inters, and came in first to gamble to slicks. K-Mag was the first driver on track with the slick tires, and had two extra laps to get a feel AND temperature in the tires. With Mick Haas waited until he only had a single first timed lap…and then Russel beaching the session short locked the positions and time-sheets.

  2. Sorry, but I’m a copywriter/editor and I couldn’t help myself… I think you meant to write either:

    Do Mick Schumacher’s “performances”
    “Does” Mick Schumacher’s performance

    Anyway, I would rather have Mick over K Mag in a second. He really has been average during his best seasons and subpar and crash prone in his not so good seasons.

    As for Nico, if he was coming straight out of another team with no F1 break? Sure. Not now though on the basis Mick probably would be out qualifying KM 2-1 next season.

    1. Why would you want to put “performances” in parentheses? The word is not meant figuratively or mockingly.

  3. The Mick Schumacher PR machine is strong. His fans need to realize how mediocre he is. If his name was let’s say Jake Hart no one would care.

  4. Just imagine if Nikita Mazepin had retained his drive, and performed similarly to last year (in actual fact I think he would have done a lot better).

    In Bahrain, Mick Schumacher qualifies 11th on the grid. By the average gap last season, Mazepin is down in 18th. Then in the race, Schumacher scores a point for tenth despite the damage, with Mazepin a few places behind him. Without the benchmark of Kevin Magnussen, we would all be saying that Schumacher had been outstanding that weekend. In the following races, he would continue to put in qualifying performances that were seemingly outstanding while his teammate was towards the back, and his crashes in Jeddah and Monaco would be put down to him doing his best to find the limit and get the maximum out of the car. Comparisons with his father would be inevitable. With less pressure, including already having a point on the board, he also may not have had so many incidents. Then Schumacher scored those great results in Silverstone and Austria and we would surely be as in awe of him as we were of George Russell last year. Then Schumacher fails to score in the second half of the season but is still consistently well ahead of Mazepin, who slips right to the back of the field as Haas drop in competitiveness.

    At the end of the season, Schumacher has effectively scored the same number of points, in the same car, as he actually did. But unlike the real 2022 where he is now out of a drive and likely to be ranked 16th-19th in the racefans ratings, he would instead surely not only have been retained but be called a future world champion getting the most out of the terrible car like George Russell in Williams, Jules Bianchi in Marussia, even Fernando Alonso in Minardi. At the very least his season would have been considered as good as Alex Albon in the Williams.

    But sadly, that did not prove to be the case; the car was a lot better than he made it look, both this year and last year, and Schumacher lost his drive. But I still think he deserved another chance, as he was as good as Magnussen over the second half of the season and, unlike his teammate, still has room for improvement.

    1. We can play that game with every driver in F1.
      Including those in leading teams with, shall we say, supportive team-mates and conducive conditions (inside and outside the team) to assist in them looking perhaps better or worse than they really are…

    2. José Lopes da Silva
      4th December 2022, 22:46

      Allow me to disagree.
      Last season there were strong suspicions that Mazepin and Schumacher could by the worst driving pair in decades. Schumacher’s record in lower formulas, much unlike is father, is meagre and clouded with doubts. Ask Dan Ticktum. Mazepin was even worst; likely the poorest CV to reach F1 in more than four decades.

      This season confirmed those suspicions. Haas 2021 car was likely not as bad as it looked. Keeping both drivers would not have done much for Schumacher’s ratings. The same way Russell would need some other mate than Kubica to assert itself.

      Mick Schumacher is at Bruno Senna level, unfortunately. Yes, he was what it takes to be in Formula One, just like 50 or 70 other drivers around the world. Like Daniel Ricciardo, Antonio Giovinazzi, Daniil Kvyat or Antonio Feliz da Costa (I keep the faith). That is not enough to retain a seat.

      1. José Lopes da Silva
        4th December 2022, 22:55

        *Felix, not Feliz. My bad.
        Also, before Monza 2022, most people would not consider Nyck de Vries as an F1 level driver. We may find out that he isn’t. But to be a regular, midfield F1 driver is not magic. There are dozens of competent drivers out there. The magic ones are few, very few, and Mick Schumacher is not one of them.

        (I lost faith in Formula One race winning magic when I saw Pastor Maldonado to win a grand prix. Fortunately Eddie Irvine did not win a Drivers Championship.)

        1. What is the problem with Eddie Irvine winning the Drivers Championship?

          He was a very good driver. Faster than Rubens Barrichello when they were teammates

          1. 50% of his race wins in his title campaign were due to be in the right position/inheriting. The other 50% were literally given to him by Salo and Schumacher.

        2. I don’t see anything wrong with that. McLaren had the best car. I’m not saying Irvine is a super talent like a Schumacher, Hamilton, Alonso or even Hakkinen but he would have been a good world champion in the mould of Button, Hill or Villeneuve. Salo is hardly a bad driver. He was someone who didn’t get proper opportunities in F1. Hakkinen’s F3 rival and did about as good or better than Alesi against Diniz.

    3. @f1frog F1 is a cruel sport. As someone could only have 1 shot at the olympic medal, Schumacher had 1 season to prove himself. He did but not enough. He was miles ahead of Mazepin but wasn’t able to beat Magnussen. I bet a top tear driver would have beaten Magnussen. Schumacher was only at his level in the second half of the season.

      1. Young top tear drivers only need teammates to push them forward and maybe learn a thing or a two from them. They can beat them on their pure pace. which Schumacher didn’t do.

  5. First things first, I’m not particularly a fan of Mick, K-Mag or Hulkenberg, although Hulk is probably my favourite driver of the 3.

    That said, I do think Mick was unlucky to lose his seat though, I really don’t think he had that bad of a season and who’s to say he wouldn’t have been at or above K-Mags level if given another year to race? There was definitely improvement in 2022, but I think the management at Haas probably had set their expectations too high for his second season, perhaps because of what he had become known for in his career before that (basically taking a year to ‘settle in’ to a formula, and then massively improving the next year). It might be that he just needed an extra season to adjust to F1, but now we’ll never know.

    I think the decision to go to Hulkenberg is an odd one. I’d say it’s as much of a gamble to go with Hulk as it is to stick with Mick for another season, considering Hulk has not been in F1 full time since 2019 (or in fact any racing series full time at all since then). Given some more years in F1, I think Mick would probably turn into a Hulkenberg level driver anyway, but with potentially a higher ceiling. So they’re basically choosing a slightly above average driver who only has a couple of years at most left in him, over a younger driver that isn’t far off his level anyway.

    I also think it’s bizarre Haas were even considering Giovinazzi, one of the most ‘average’ drivers that have been in the sport in recent times, as a replacement for Mick. My own feeling is there’s probably more to the really strong desire to get rid of Mick than we’re being told about, I don’t think it would’ve just been down to his ability (or lack of), maybe he wasn’t performing in other aspects of the role (e.g. maybe not happy with his attitude/feedback/work ethic).

    1. Exactly, that’s what his improvement over the season tells me, that he would’ve been right on magnussen’s level from the start given another season, thanks to the additional experience.

  6. I think the article fails to tell about Kevins 3 black/orange flags, when he was rear-ended in Monza breaking his diffuser. When he had to run low enginge settings. Plenty of reason why Mick has most lap led and finished ahead.

    But when it counted, Mick didn’t deliver to the same extent as Kevin. Kevin had 9 points finished (6 races, 3 sprints). And it was Kevin who took the pole (not by luck, 8 drivers in Q3 had a shot on slicks) and not Mick. And Mick had the exact same possibility to do so.

  7. Firing Mick who seems to have a much higher ceiling than Magnussen shows why Haas is never going to step up from a bottom of the grid team.

    1. I liked Schumacher both as a person and as a driver and think he has the potential to become even better, but beaten 16-6 in qualy and 25-12 on pts… Claiming he has a ‘much higher ceiling’, when his teammate beat him decisively on every key metric, and took a pole in a Haas, and managed to keep the repair bill much lower, is clearly not based on current facts.

  8. Dude was only there because of his dad’s name and fat wallet. Just another entitled legacy driver. Good riddance.

  9. Those signs by the track saying “MSC Cruises”? They weren’t pit boards.

  10. The expense of Mick’s crashes ($2M) was well covered through the 1&1 conditional sponshorship he’d brought in (3- 5M per season).
    By the way: why is Haas in F1 – is there any point with their presence?

    1. By the way: why is Haas in F1 – is there any point with their presence?

      The exact same reason all the other teams (particularly manufacturers) are in F1 – marketing.
      F1 is business.

    2. Mick got fired because he was slow. He was Kevin Magnussen’s worst teammate in F1

      1. He was also removed due to crashing too often.
        The team can’t develop the car when they have to spend all their money repairing it instead.

  11. Would you have said the same for Lewis Hamilton with Russel ? :)

    Funny how different confrontation can lead to different type of vision

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