Guenther Steiner has received a fair amount of criticism for his management of Mick Schumacher, although none of that has come from the former Haas driver – at least not until now.
Although Schumacher was the darling at Haas during his first season with the team, the driver comfortably ahead of Nikita Mazepin in a season in which neither teammate scored, nor were they expected to, it was apparent early in his second season that Steiner now expected more.
Destroying his VF-22 in qualifying for round two of the season, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Steiner voiced his frustration and he wasn’t afraid who heard.
Mick Schumacher: I can see now how it should be
As the season progressed, Schumacher recorded more big accidents than he did top-ten results, two to three, and Steiner made it known he was considering his options for his 2024 line-up.
Speaking to other drivers and even publicly inviting Daniel Ricciardo to call him if he wanted a race seat, Schumacher’s uncle, former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher, criticised Steiner’s handling of his nephew.
The German was eventually informed of his axing on the eve of the 2022 season finale in Abu Dhabi with Steiner opting not to renew his contract and instead putting Nico Hulkenberg in the car.
Despite his disappointment, Schumacher kept his own counsel about his thoughts on Steiner. At least he did, until now.
“I can see now how it should be,” the Mercedes reserve driver, now under the leadership of Toto Wolff, told Sky Deutschland. “My two years [with Haas] didn’t show me that.
“[You cannot] assume a driver will perform at his best if you don’t support him in the right way.”
But he doesn’t feel his time at Haas was a waste as he says he “learned a lot as a person” with one of those lessons being the world doesn’t hand out favours.
“People will never hand you the flowers, you have to pick them yourself, I know that now,” he added. “I now feel very ready to attack again and to show what I can really do. A lot of people don’t even know what I can do.”
Mick Schumacher casts doubt over possible F1 return
But getting the chance to show what he can do may not be possible with only three seats still available on the 2024 grid, one at Williams, Alfa Romeo, and AlphaTauri.
Schumacher has already been ruled out of the latter by Helmut Marko while Alfa Romeo is said to be lining up Theo Pourchaire if they opt not to continue with Zhou Guanyu and Williams are adamant Logan Sargeant is still the first choice to retain his seat.
“There isn’t much movement at the moment,” Schumacher conceded. “Many drivers are already set or have a contract that doesn’t expire until the end of next year.”
Revealing he speaks with his team boss Wolff “almost every day” about his options for next season, he admits “unfortunately” there is now a “Plan B” but he wouldn’t go into details about that.
Plan B or A, though, Schumacher is still dreaming of joining his father Michael on the list of Formula 1 World Champions.
“Getting into Formula 1 was the first goal. The second goal is still open, namely becoming World Champion,” he concluded.