After two intense years, Haas said goodbye to Mick Schumacher last winter. In the Netflix series Drive to Survive team boss Günther Steiner is very critical of the German driver: “Talent cannot be bought.” And that has not gone down well with everyone in Germany.
He is known for rarely mincing words. It’s one of the reasons why Günther Steiner since his performances in Drive to Survive has become one of the stars of the show. In the new season there is again a lot of attention for Haas’ team boss and the decision to replace Mick Schumacher, son of seven-time world champion Michael, with veteran Nico Hülkenberg after two years.
With statements such as ‘you can’t pull a dead horse’ and ‘talent cannot be bought’, Steiner does not paint a very positive picture of the German driver. He also curses Schumacher when he asks via the on-board radio during a race whether the brakes are overheated. “Is he worried about the temperature of the brakes? He’s so damn slow he doesn’t need brakes at all,” the team boss fulminates. In conversation with the UK portal inews Steiner nuances that outburst. “During a race, the adrenaline rushes through your body in the pit box. Then you sometimes say things that you would not normally say or an hour later.”
The marriage between Schumacher and Haas was eventually dissolved. The countless, costly crashes of the German were partly the cause of this. “I told Mick that we needed an experienced driver who could take the team forward. Such a conversation is not fun, but it is part of my job. I think Mick saw it coming, he’s a smart guy. After two years, we haven’t gotten where we wanted,” said Steiner. “And you can’t move forward if you don’t move forward.”
Last week, Ralf Schumacher got involved in the discussion about his nephew through a conversation on the formula1.de YouTube channel. According to the former F1 driver and Sky Germany analyst, a team has every right to critically approach drivers. Schumi II admits that his cousin was not promoting himself with crashes in Baku and Monaco.
In Drive to Survive Steiner complains in a telephone conversation with owner Gene Haas about the damage caused by the young driver in a serious crash in Saudi Arabia. “It’s not good Gene, I think the damage is between half a million and a million euros.”
“Mick was slow and made mistakes,” admits Ralf Schumacher. “As a driver you have to be able to deal with criticism from your team. But”, says the former driver, “I expect an adult man (Steiner, ed.) to treat a young man differently. Mick could and should have been better motivated. If you go Drive to Survive watching, you understand even better how difficult it was for Mick and what he has achieved at that age. In a team where you got the feeling that he was not welcome and always fought against dismissal, he performed great. Whether that is enough to stay in Formula 1, the future will tell.”
After his departure from Haas, Mercedes, the last team for which his father was active in Formula 1, has recruited Mick Schumacher as a test driver.