Guenther Steiner has confirmed he has decided whether or not to retain Mick Schumacher at Haas next season – with the team set to announce their 2023 driver line-up in the build-up to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Schumacher’s future at Haas has been under the microscope for much of the second half of the year, with the German having struggled to match Kevin Magnussen in the early part of the season along with several large crashes that hindered his progress.
While the young German, who is nearing the end of his second year in Formula 1, has generally caught up to Magnussen’s pace as the season has progressed, the prospect of a full-time return to the sport for Nico Hulkenberg has gathered pace – with Steiner recently admitting he is “done with rookies” for the time being.
The seat alongside Magnussen at Haas is the final one to be decided on the 2023 grid, with Logan Sargeant confirmed to be a Williams driver if he is able to gain the Super Licence points required at the end of the F2 season in Abu Dhabi.
But with the Haas team principal having very much taken his time over this call, he confirmed their 2023 pairing will be confirmed in the coming days.
“Yes, you’re right,” Steiner told reporters when asked if he had made his decision about next year’s Haas line-up.
“We are just sorting out details [about] how we will do what we are going to do.
“Expect the announcement some time next week. I’m not telling you the day because then everybody will be waiting for that day – but it will be coming next week.”
Schumacher’s cause was not helped when he qualified last for the sprint at Interlagos, where Magnussen reached Q3 and eventually took a stunning pole position.
Steiner admitted he could sympathise for Schumacher in that situation, although he also acknowledged his season has been “a little bit up and down” before adding: “But again, yesterday I really felt almost sorry for him because he did a good job in Q1 before he went out.
“The first two runs were very good and then with the dry tyres, he just couldn’t get the feeling. He lost a little bit of temperature when some people overtook him on his out-lap and then couldn’t get the temperature back in and then lost a little bit of confidence, started to slide, and that is what is happening – it just didn’t work for him.
“But otherwise, the whole season, we all know he had very good moments and very bad moments. It’s an up and down…I think he got more consistent, he obviously improved.
“The beginning of the season was very tough, when he was thrown in the deep end with a better car, with a very good team-mate – it was a little bit of an ‘okay, this is now Formula 1 really’. But then he recovered and got better.”