Guenther Steiner says he doesn’t want to pamper Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin and feels it’s better they learn things “the hard way”.
Haas opted to field an all-rookie line-up in 2021 with the two F2 graduates replacing the experienced pair of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, signing multi-year deals.
Both struggled at times, with Mazepin struggling for pace and being criticised for his aggressive driving and Schumacher costing his team more money in crash damage than any other driver.
Steiner feels they both learned a lot though and is pleased they did it the hard way with the Italian wary of sheltering them too much.
“It was definitely an experience!” he told motorsport-total.com when asked what it was like having two rookies.
“We knew beforehand what we were doing. But I didn’t fully understand what was going to happen. You learn and realize what makes these young guys tick. How inexperienced they are and how much help they need.
“Some of the things they need to learn cannot be taught to them. You can only guide them. They have to swim themselves or they’ll go under. It’s a full-time job keeping them afloat. And I don’t want to. It’s better if they learn the hard way. Then they’ll have it in there. It’s better than pampering them.
“Because the car wasn’t competitive, it was easier because we didn’t need any points. We want to score again next year. But  they learned a lot by making mistakes.”
⏪🇭🇺 Tussling with the World Champion 💪
We loved seeing Mick get the chance to battle with the best in Budapest!#HaasF1
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) December 29, 2021
Schumacher was undoubtedly the stronger of the two drivers over the course of the season, being comfortably faster than Mazepin on both Saturday and Sunday the majority of the time.
Steiner is pleased with his progress and how things are starting to become second nature for the German.
“You can see that he is feeling more and more comfortable in his surroundings,” the team principal stated.
“He is growing and maturing in all areas. When approaching the weekend, he’s much more relaxed, it’s completely normal now. Many things are now automated.
“He doesn’t have to think more about simple things and can concentrate on getting the last bit out of it. That usually makes you faster.”
He feels Mazepin has improved too but admits things have been difficult for him.
“He’s getting better, but it’s not an easy job to learn how to drive in Formula 1,” he added.
“They all learn that it’s not easy here. He’s also developed well. Let’s see how he’s doing a better car next year.”