Saying goodbye to Mick Schumacher, Guenther Steiner has joked his “salary” is benefitting from not having to cover the cost of the German’s crashes.
Last season Haas called time on Schumacher’s two years with the team. Haas was unimpressed that the cost of his crashes – three big ones in 2022 alone – wasn’t balanced in the budget by points-scoring finishes.
That brought to an end a tense final season in which Steiner was caught on camera by Netflix responding to team owner Gene Haas’ “dead man walking” criticism by conceding the driver will be if he doesn’t improve.
Haas instead signed Nico Hulkenberg who has been accident-free this season – barring one moment with the Miami Grand Prix barriers.
Asked by Bild what he will do with the money he doesn’t have to spend on repairs, Steiner joked: “It all goes directly into my salary!
“Joking aside, we put that into developments.
“Nico was really annoyed about the mistake in Miami, but something like that can happen. I am very satisfied with his performance.”
Satisfied, though, was never a word used to describe Schumacher’s races with Steiner often lambasting his driver in public and even going as far as to make it clear his Haas seat wasn’t safe.
Asked about that ‘dead horse’ conversation and if ‘Mick was a dead horse, what is Nico’, he replied: “I don’t want to compare that because I don’t have a single word for what Nico is doing.
“The statement about Mick was misunderstood. It’s an idiom in America. Calling it something dead makes it sound extreme.
“But I didn’t want to say that Mick was dead or anything. That was perhaps an awkward statement because the German translation was far too harsh and direct.”
Pressed as to whether he regrets saying that, he said: “Maybe regret is the wrong word. I would put it differently.
“I didn’t think about it at the time, because for me it was a statement that you make when you speak loosely in English.”
Steiner came in for a lot of criticism for his handling of Schumacher, not only from the driver’s uncle Ralf Schumacher, but also fans who accused him of bullying his driver.
He, however, doesn’t see a problem with his management style.
“If you know me, you have to deal with it,” he said. “Mick never spoke to me about it.
“It was also driven from the outside to put me down. I suppose I could’ve said it differently, and if people criticise that, I’m okay with that. I didn’t sleep badly because of that.”
He added: “Beating on me doesn’t bother me. I live with it, draw my conclusions, and do what I want to do.
“You can’t ask everyone to love you. You have to deal with that. In English, they say: If you can’t stand the heat, don’t work in the kitchen. It’s the same here, only the heat comes from somewhere else.
“Some people try to be perfect under pressure, but I don’t try because I know I’m not. Let’s take my book. If you don’t like what I write, don’t read it. If I have a bad book, I put it down after a few pages. The time is too bad for me.”
As for whether he’s spoken to Schumacher since the German’s exit, Steiner said: “I hardly see him. We said hello in the paddock when we walked in.
“I personally have no problem with the boy. The relationship was made worse than it was.
“It might not have been fantastic, but it certainly wasn’t bad.
“I’ll definitely speak to him when the opportunity arises. But, at the entrance to the track, that’s not the right place. That has to happen when he has time or when you meet at the airport.”