Mick Schumacher has passed up the opportunity to pay tribute to team principal Guenther Steiner following his departure from Haas.
Keeping his own counsel, apart from a basic platitude, was hardly surprising considering the German driver was dropped by Steiner at the end of the 2022 season in favour of Nico Hulkenberg.
It was a decision Steiner and team owner Gene Haas had deliberated over during a campaign in which Schumacher had incurred too much costly crash damage to cars he was driving and also been outscored 25 points to 12 by his team-mate, Kevin Magnussen.
Although there is potential for the 23-year-old to remain in F1 as a reserve driver for Mercedes, it is understandable that he should refuse to offer a ringing endorsement of the combustible Steiner’s qualities as a team boss.
Asked about his relationship with Steiner, Schumacher, quoted by Motorsport.com, said: “Well, I mean, we actually have an okay relationship and I think it will stay that way.”
But when questioned about how much support the 57-year-old Italian had provided him with, Schumacher, who spent two seasons with Haas, preferred to talk about how supportive Sebastian Vettel had been instead.
“I had Sebastian’s backing,” said Schumacher in response to a direct question about support from Steiner.
“Accordingly, I’m very happy, but of course we’ve always had open communication between the team and me and we’ve been working steadily on ourselves.
“We tried to work through all the points there were to improve and I think if we compare with the beginning of the year, we really kept the trend going.
“Especially the race pace was very positive and then the qualifying pace improved as well. But it wasn’t enough, apparently.”
Schumacher and Vettel, of course, formed a close bond in the paddock during the two years when the son of the seven-time former World Champion has raced in F1, with personal circumstances clearly contributing towards that.
With Schumacher snr a boyhood hero of Vettel and obviously unable to attend races himself, the Aston Martin driver took on something of a mentoring role to Mick.
Asked specifically about the support he had received from Vettel at the time of his exit from Haas, Schumacher jnr again would not go into too much detail and said: “What we discuss is private.
“All I can say is his words moved me and were very helpful at a moment like this.”