The verbal clashes between Haas boss Guenther Steiner and Ralf Schumacher over the past two seasons have seemingly taken a major toll on relations between the pair.
It was Mick Schumacher’s time racing for Haas, the team where Steiner serves as principal, which was the catalyst for the strained relations between Steiner and Ralf.
Mick did not enjoy the smoothest of spells in Haas colours, departing at the end of 2022 as the team decided to drop him after two seasons in favour of the experienced figure of Nico Hulkenberg.
During those two seasons it was several expensive shunts from Mick which seemed to dent his relationship with Steiner, who was rarely shy to express his dissatisfaction not only with those incidents, but also the driver’s overall performance.
Ralf then often spoke out in defence of his nephew, with his words for Steiner not always staying within the bounds of racing discussions, recently mocking Steiner by recommending he used his new cosmetic cream, an Instagram post which was later deleted.
Ralf also suggested that Steiner would not have treated Mick the way he did if Mick’s father Michael Schumacher had have been by his side in the paddock.
Mick’s Haas exit then has not exactly marked an end to that spat between Ralf and Steiner, a saga which has basically finished relations for the pair from Steiner’s viewpoint.
Asked by RTL/n-tv and Sport.de about this situation with Ralf, Steiner replied: “I don’t have a problem, I have to do my job. I think the problem lies with someone else, not with me. That’s why I’m not worried about it and I don’t have to go there.
“The relationship no longer exists and I don’t need a new one either. I choose my friends myself and who I want to talk to. That’s how I’ve always been and that’s how it will stay.”
Mick is still present in the Formula 1 paddock for F1 2023, as following his departure from Haas, he signed with Mercedes to become reserve driver at the final team which his father Michael raced for in Formula 1.
Steiner confirmed that he has no interaction with Mick now either, albeit not purely by design.
“He’s at the other end in the pit lane now, so we see each other very rarely,” Steiner said with a smile. “If he wants to talk to me: okay. If he doesn’t want to talk to me, it’s okay too. I have to respect that and I’m okay with that.”
Mick remains intent on making a return to the grid for F1 2024, but before looking to make any firm plans for that, he has an important part to play at a Mercedes team looking to recover from a tricky start to the current campaign.
Having gone into F1 2023 with the goal of returning to title contention, Lewis Hamilton’s P2 finish in Australia is the team’s strongest result from the opening three rounds, with the one-month break before Baku a key period for the Mercedes team if they are to unlock the pace to challenge the dominant Red Bull team this season.
Mercedes sit P3 in the Constructors’ standings, nine points behind Aston Martin and 67 adrift of Red Bull.