Guenther Steiner believes Mick Schumacher could use Charles Leclerc’s start to life in F1 as a template for his own career.
Schumacher, son of Michael, the seven-time former World Champion, is following a similar path to Leclerc which could end up with him also ultimately racing for Ferrari.
Both have come up through the Ferrari Driver Academy and won the Formula 2 Championship, Leclerc doing so in 2017 before getting an F1 opportunity at Sauber the following year.
The Monegasque was considered to need only one season learning the ropes before he was pitched in at Ferrari for 2019 alongside Sebastian Vettel and won twice, in Belgium and Italy.
When he first joined Sauber, Leclerc was initially outpaced by team-mate Marcus Ericsson, but began to really find his feet when the season arrived in Europe and made continuous improvement throughout the campaign.
With Schumacher also having gained a reputation as something of a slow starter in a series before impressing when he is up to speed, Steiner thinks it may be a similar situation when he drives for his Haas team in 2021 – albeit his team-mate is another rookie, Nikita Mazepin, rather than an experienced F1 racer such as Ericsson.
Reflecting on Leclerc’s time at Sauber, Steiner told AutoBild: “In the first races he wasn’t faster than his team-mate. But then he learned extremely quickly. That’s what I especially expect from Mick.
“I am convinced that in the second half of the season we will have two drivers who know exactly how to do it.
“By 2022 they should be in a position to prove what they are capable of. Our job is to train them and build them a car with which they can show their skills, in order to then take their fate into their own hands.”
Schumacher already has experience of working with the Haas team having taken part in FP1 at the 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and in the ‘young driver test’ also at Yas Marina two days after the end of the season – and his attitude certainly impressed Steiner.
“It was fantastic to have a Schumacher back involved in Formula 1,” Steiner told The Race.
“He’s very professional – you can see he grew up in a family that knows what racing is all about.
“He’s a very pleasant guy, very well prepared technically. The guys like him and his feedback and he has no problem admitting the things where he needs to get better.
“That’s what we need to do, make him go better, because everything is new. He’s been put in a difficult position because his team-mate is another rookie, but he knew that from the get-go.
“But otherwise, it was very good to have him around and I look forward to having these new challenges in front of me.”