Steiner “not ashamed” of panning “slow” Schumacher in Drive to Survive

2023 F1 season

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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner stands by critical comments he made of Mick Schumacher during his last year at the team which appear in the latest season of Formula 1 documentary Drive to Survive.

The fifth season of the popular series appeared on Netflix last month. Its third episode focuses on Schumacher’s struggled during 2022, which led to Steiner replacing him with Nico Hulkenberg for this season.

A series of comments between Steiner and other Haas staff including owner Gene Haas and Schumacher’s team mate Kevin Magnussen reveal the team principal’s growing concern over Schumacher’s performances. Steiner reacted with alarm to Schumacher’s two heavy crashes in Jeddah and Monaco, and criticised the driver’ performance during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, where had fallen 48 seconds behind his team mate (including an extra pit stop) at the time of Magnussen’s retirement from the race shortly after half-distance.

Steiner said it was inevitable the programme makers would only select the most sensational pieces of dialogue to show.

Mick Schumacher, Haas, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2022
Schumacher suffered a massive crash in Jeddah
“I didn’t watch it, but I made the comments so I remember some of the things I say,” he explained. “Obviously Drive to Survive shows the worst and the most tricky moments. So obviously that’s what the show needs to do.”

However he insisted he stood by his comments. “Whatever was said, was said. I cannot take that one back and it was decided not to take it out because it you have nothing to hide and it is what it is. I’m not ashamed of it.

“As I said, I can explain it with ‘the heat of the moment’. As a racer you say of things I wouldn’t say now, for example. But things like this happen in racing so we shouldn’t go too deep into it to analyse my mental state.”

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Other F1 figures, including most recently Esteban Ocon, have accused the programme makers of misrepresenting them. The Alpine driver pointed out comments he made after finishing one race had been presented as if they were made during another.

To Steiner’s dismay, Schumacher totalled another car in Monaco
Steiner, who has regularly featured in Drive to Survive since the series first aired in 2019, said he isn’t concerned about his depiction in the series. “I’ve got one team member who watches this and I let somebody else decide,” he said.

It’s always difficult for me to have an opinion about myself, it’s very difficult. Put yourself in my shoes, you know what I mean, the best is they don’t show anything. But is that good? No.

“So again, you don’t get involved directly with your own performance because I’m not an actor, I don’t judge if I ‘acted’ good or not. I did my job and I think I judge my job from what we achieve at the race track. If Netflix looks good or bad, I don’t really care about that.”

Steiner’s comments on Schumacher in Drive to Survive

On the phone to Gene Haas after Schumacher’s Jeddah crash:

Steiner: “Oh, it is bad. Between half a million to a million, I would say. It’s like, fucking hell. We gave him a year to learn, what does he do? The second race he fucking destroys a car just because the other one is faster.”

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Speaking to Magnussen after Schumacher’s Miami GP collision with Sebastian Vettel:

Mick Schumacher, Haas, Baku Street Circuit, 2022
Steiner slated Schumacher’s performance in Baku
Magnussen: “Mick can do it. He has more.”
Steiner: “But as soon as he tries to drive more he fucking crashes, you know.”

In Azerbaijan:

Steiner: “If he crashes here again they’ll rip him in piece. It’s not me then, it’s the public, you know. […] You know how much I have to listen to Gene? You have no idea. Gene doesn’t hate anything more than crashing a car. That’s it.”

On the pit wall during the race in Baku, Steiner listening to the exchange between Schumacher and his race engineer Gary Gannon:

Steiner: “He’s worried about overheating the brakes. Fucking hell. He’s going so fucking slow he doesn’t need a brake.”

Gannon: “Didn’t catch any luck today.”
Steiner: “No, you were fucking slow.”

Discusses plans for 2023 with Magnussen:

Magnussen: “I don’t know what your plans are for next year.”
Steiner: “I just need to find somebody.”
Magnussen: “Ricciardo?”
Steiner: “We can’t afford him. He wants 10 fucking million minimum. You know, I need to be smart about it. As much as you think I’m not smart, sometimes I’m pretty smart.”

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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...
Claire Cottingham
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26 comments on “Steiner “not ashamed” of panning “slow” Schumacher in Drive to Survive”

  1. Did you know the 2023 Formula 1 season is already underway?

    And that the Haas F1 team has, once again, more pressing issues than a TV reality show and the conduct of one or several team members on the same?

    Let’s talk about their abysmal showing in the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix, shall we?

    1. One of the reasons i dont watch much of DTS, everything feels “old news”, and the new season is already here. I probably would watch more of it if they sent it out during autumng/before christmas when no other racing was on show.

    2. Do they have more pressing issues? They are in F1 to give Gene Haas exposure, and thanks to the commercial rights payout the operation probably almost pays for itself. They’re not trying to win.

      1. Maybe, but we as fans (at least most of us I’m sure) have no interest in mr. Haas and his personal needs and business plans. What concerns us is the racing team. This is just some soap opera nonsense… Yeah, they are doing all this for exposure, Steiner has taken a clown role since the first season of that reality show (not a documentary), but we’re talking about the racing team, again, and they do have better things to do than gossip, act crazy when TV cameras are on and then continue milking that “gig” on and on. This is the wrong place to talk about things like what Steiner had for breakfast, whom did he insult this time, if his grandma is going to marry that guy or not or whatever is the next thing they think of. Or I hope it’s the wrong place…

        1. Maybe, but we as fans (at least most of us I’m sure) have no interest in mr. Haas and his personal needs and business plans.

          We do if it highlights issues with how F1 is run, from the undue influence of the parties to the Concorde Agreement over who gets to participate, to issues with the financial model that keeps the show going – and the kind of venues where F1 goes racing that this model necessitates.

          Haas will never make the kind of investments that Aston Martin is doing, or that Sauber is doing longer term. They, Williams and Red Bull II aren’t in F1 to compete for prizes. Why F1 is so intent on keeping them in, while rejecting others, is something fans of racing have a stake in as it means F1 effectively only has 14 serious cars.

  2. Archibald Bumfluff
    10th March 2023, 8:56

    Gunther was right though.

    Mick Schumacher was slow, and he crashed a lot.

    Kevin beat Mick almost as badly as Mick beat Mazepin.

    1. That false and you Mick beat Magnussen H2H in race condition and was on average FATSER than Magnussen since Imola.

    2. Yet Mick finished in front of Magnussen more often then not.
      So yeah, not beaten that badly at all.

    3. Adding myself to the list of those who disagree schumacher was destroyed, I’d go as far as saying: give him another season and he’d beat magnussen on points as well now, a bit like what we saw with ocon vs perez at force india: ocon improved relative to perez in their time there.

  3. According to the race pace analysis of the whole season that Joylon Palmer presented on F1tv, Mick’s race pace was slightly better than Magnussen’s. He wasn’t that slow after all.

    1. Mick’s race pace was decent, but his qualifying performances were poor. It always left him with far too much to do on race day rather than putting the car where it should have been.

    2. The very subject of this article is about HAAS/Steiner perhaps being to loud about MSC’s gap to MAG and the article is full of references to HAAS management wanting MSC to perform at the level of their other driver. In wain. Yet people claim to know that MSC is faster than MAG, irrespective of the teams opinions. Aside from cherry picking a snippet from Jolyon’s analysis where he was kind to MSC, nobody (including Jolyon) thinks MSC had a good season let alone a better season than his co-driver…

      How people can reach the conclusion that MSC did than MAG is puzzle no 1. Why they do it in this very context is puzzle no 2. The reasoning for misrepresenting the poor Mr. Palmer “devil vs. bible”-style is puzzle no 3.

      1. It wasnt the opinion of Palmer, it was the data that was puting Mick above Magnussen on race pace, and below him on quallyfing pace. I am not saying that Mick was better than Magnussen but he wasn’t that far off. Mick has to imporove his qualy, he did some mistakes that he shouldn’t but he is not rubbish like Steiner wanted to show. I dont understand what I misrepresented.

        1. I think I’ve seen all Jolyon’s post-race analysis shows and have recently read his comment about the HAAS lineup being the strongest ever (probably coloured by the fact that they both are ex-team-mates). He never once gave me the impression he felt MSC was the driver with the best racecraft of those two. And he’s gone to great pains to describe how their relative datapoints are tainted by meatballs and failures…

          And I’d just read no less than three other comments to this article about how MSC is in fact a rather fast driver – at least on par with MAG – despite his obvious failings and crashes… I’ve witnessed a lot of other discussions of MSC vs. HUL over the summer based on those isolated comments by Jolyon during the winterbreak. And got annoyed with how “fandom” holds sway over reality. Sorry to lash out on you in particular. Too harsh – not fair. My bad.

          1. Shouldn’t Jolyon be driving something?

  4. Here’s hoping Mick gets the opportunity to prove Steiner was wrong, just like Magnussen did. I think in the end Mick is a better place to develop as a driver and Steiner has the experienced pairing the team needed to progress.

    1. Yes, would be nice, I don’t really like steiner from what I see here.

  5. Watched this DTS episode just an hour ago. While harsh, I think Steiner got most of it spot on. Mick really wasn’t performing and was costing the team. It wasn’t working just as Ricciardo wasn’t gelling at Mclaren. I feel it was fair enough, and Mick has himself to blame for any criticism that came his way.

    1. It makes no sense, in the article he said he wanted to get ricciardo but he was too expensive; why did he want to get him? He had a worse season than schumacher by most metrics!

  6. More importantly, is his race engineer still around?

  7. Kinda baffled by the way Steiner seems to be talking in a professional environment. He is either a pleb or a clown who does if for the show.

  8. After Bahrain I place my bets to this to continue

  9. Steiner is quick to point out Mick’s failings. Can someone remind me what he has achieved with all of Gene Haas’s money?

    1. Indeed, best I’ve seen was a car able to fight in the upper midfield, like early on in 2018.

  10. Think the Haas team did a cost benefit analysis:
    2 rookie drivers, low salary cost, huge repairs cost vs 2 experienced drivers, high salary cost, low repairs cost

  11. I find most eps of DTS hard to watch so don’t usually pay that much attention but my impressions of this ep. were
    Mick: “My tyres are really shot”
    Pitwall: “OK. Push, Push”
    Cue sad music
    Mick: “Sorry”
    & the sad drama apparent in the heinous crime of being lapped by Verstappen at Baku (although that somehow doesn’t apply to every other finisher outside the top 10 who were also lapped).
    That and Gunther vernaculating.

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