What Haas demands from Mick Schumacher: points, not crashes

KLare announcements are helpful. The person addressed knows immediately where he is. Take Mick Schumacher, 23, a second-year Formula 1 racer. The contract with the Haas racing team expires on January 1, 2023. Schumacher’s team owner, billionaire Gene Haas, more or less dictated the German’s continued employment a few days before the United States Grand Prix on Sunday in Austin: Score and don’t crash! That has become a kind of mantra in the American team when it comes to the son of the record world champion.

Nothing can be heard of nuances in public. For example, from the effort to find an inexperienced pilot with potential, Gene Haas is sure to develop it step by step. Admittedly, this is not the norm in every racing team, but there are training centers. Sauber alias Alfa Romeo is one of them. Alpha Tauri also follows a development concept in which errors are allowed to a certain extent over a certain period of time. The program is tough, but there is one thing.

Haas, on the other hand, flirts with a role backwards. Two years ago, team boss Günther Steiner was still promoting his rookie program: Haas wanted to find his way back into midfield with two debutants, against all experience. The Russian Mazepin didn’t stand a chance against Schumacher until he was thrown out because of his connection to the attacking warrior Putin. However, the stark difference in performance had not advanced Schumacher.

Haas is reaching its limits

At Formula 1 level, only pilots who circle at eye level drive themselves. New teammate Kevin Magnussen is a decent reference. In this respect, Schumacher is gaining some experience this year that he was not able to do in the first season: having to go to the limit in order to be able to beat his team-mate. Two things have been noticeable since the summer. Firstly, he succeeds more and more often.

Secondly: The team management misses every chance to strengthen Schumacher coram publico. This is all the more astonishing because the driver visibly bites his tongue when the demands of team management and the reality of racing diverge so widely, as was the case last time at the Grand Prix in Suzuka. There, the strategists spoiled the better positioned Schumacher with a strategy based on chance, the good prospect of what Gene Haas is now asking of him: points.

The team has not made such mistakes for the first time, not to mention the many technical defects. Haas has its limits everywhere. Apparently also with the question of how to weld a team together. That could even help Schumacher in the meantime. If he survives this special driving test, he will find a better team faster than Haas would like.



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