Ex-F1 racer Ralf Schumacher says his nephew Mick Schumacher has earned a great deal of respect at Haas as contract talks loom.
Just a few races ago Schumacher’s seat at Haas was starting to look under threat, following several major crashes and a struggle to consistently perform at the level of team-mate Kevin Magnussen.
Silverstone though proved to be a real turning point, Schumacher scoring his first Formula 1 points, in his second season, with a P8 finish. That included a fierce battle with Max Verstappen in the closing stages as Schumacher narrowly missed out on finishing a place higher.
Not to worry though, as a solid Austria race weekend came to a close with Schumacher claiming P6. There he enjoyed a scrap with the other half of last season’s title battle, that being Lewis Hamilton, Schumacher acquitting himself very well.
And according to Ralf, that Austria performance boosted the respect levels for Mick’s ability within Haas considerably.
Asked if Mick is now the number one driver at Haas, Ralf, as quoted by Speedweek.com, told Sport1: “I wouldn’t say, but I think he has gained a lot of respect in the team now.
“And not only because he was faster than Kevin. Also because of his super duel with Lewis Hamilton and his way, which was very clever. He was really, really good.
“It has been recognised by the team for a long time, I hope that Günther [Steiner, Haas team principal], now also sees that. In the end, both drivers have to subordinate themselves to the team.”
Mick was frustrated after the Austria sprint, revealing that Haas had not gone along with his request to swap him and Magnussen around, the pursuing Hamilton eventually passing Schumacher in the closing stages.
And Ralf references this battle as an example of why Mick still needs to find a more egotistical side.
“[Mick] has to become more egoistic at some point if his team-mate doesn’t understand that,” Ralf claimed. “The pendulum always swings both ways.
“I’m happy that the two of them embraced each other, you accept your team-mate, but in the end it’s the first one you want to beat. That’s why you can’t really be friends.”
Nonetheless, Ralf is clear that for Mick, the “form curve is clearly pointing upwards” now, admitting that he “didn’t expect that in Spielberg”.
That being said, Steiner had said that he noticed a change in Mick back at the Canadian Grand Prix, the 23-year-old suddenly more relaxed, and Ralf says that the “self confidence” is now there.
So, performances like Austria Ralf feels will go a long way to giving Haas that same confidence in Mick.
“The form curve is clearly pointing upwards,” he said. “He has now had a couple of weekends where he was finally able to develop without any problems.
“I also have to give a lot of praise to the team because the car was really strong. I didn’t expect that in Spielberg.
“The team will also have more confidence in him now. He has self-confidence.”
To that point, Haas are approaching the stage where they must decide whether they want to retain Mick beyond this season, but with uncle Ralf now seeing that confidence from both sides, he expects such a commitment to follow.
“From there, it should only be a matter of time before the team also commits to the future,” Ralf stated.
The floodgates open for Mick Schumacher
One points finish was then followed by a first top-six finish in F1 for Mick Schumacher.