Haas hope to guide Mick down same path as Leclerc

Mark Scott
Mick Schumacher Haas

Haas boss Guenther Steiner is hoping they can guide Mick Schumacher down the same Formula 1 path as current Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc.

Leclerc got his first taste of a Formula 1 weekend when he tested for Haas during the 2016 season before landing a drive with Sauber in 2018.

A breakout first year from the Monegasque driver prompted Ferrari to bring their academy product straight into the senior team to replace Kimi Raikkonen and Haas would like to provide that same platform for Schumacher now he is officially part of the Formula 1 grid.

“I would be pleased if we could get him to have a career like Leclerc’s,” Steiner said in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.

“After all, Charles also did the first free practice session at GPs with us.

“In the first races with Sauber he [Charles] wasn’t the fastest, but he learned. In the first races, that’s enough. After the mid-season we will have drivers who will try to compete.”

Steiner is also not only confident in Schumacher’s ability to  handle the pressure of being a Formula 1 driver, but he is also optimistic that Haas can develop his talent having been encouraged with how they worked with stand-in driver Pietro Fittipaldi in 2020.

“Schumi has grown up in a very competent team like Prema. Then I’m optimistic if I think about the work done by us with Fittipaldi,” he said.

“He hasn’t driven a racing car for two years and in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi he didn’t make a bad impression.

“The secret is to make few mistakes and drive many kilometres. Going fast comes gradually.

“Mick just has to learn and then in 2022 he can show what he can do.

“It will be up to us to provide him with the right car. After that he will have to take his own destiny into his own hands.”

Mick Schumacher Formula 2 title Ferrari

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Haas let two very experienced drivers in Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen leave at the end of the 2020 campaign and replaced them with rookies in the form of Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.

Asked about why the team decided to completely ditch experience, the example of Leclerc was at the forefront of Steiner’s mind once again.

He replied: “In 2022 there will be new regulations that will offer so many opportunities. Drivers are the primary asset of a team and a shake-up was needed. We needed drivers who could grow.

“Young drivers are making their mark in F1. I’m thinking of Leclerc, who won races in his second season, and Norris, who is doing very well.

“Moreover, at a financial level they cost much less than experienced drivers and we prefer to invest money in the 2022 car, rather than in drivers.”

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