Did Mick Schumacher’s Haas departure inadvertently cost Nyck de Vries F1 career?

Sam Cooper
Mick Schumacher after qualifying. Abu Dhabi November 2022.

Haas driver Mick Schumacher walks into parc ferme after qualifying. Abu Dhabi November 2022.

Guenther Steiner has wondered whether replacing Mick Schumacher with Nico Hulkenberg set the groundwork for other teams bringing in older drivers.

Hulkenberg was recalled from his F1 exile at the start of this season in the place of Schumacher and came back to the sport at the age of 35.

In the modern world of Formula 1, it is rare that ‘older’ drivers are given a second chance with the previous oldest hire being Fernando Alonso’s’ comeback to Alpine at the age of 39.

But with 34-year-old Ricciardo’s return to a full-time seat, another team has opted to place inexperience with experience and Haas boss Steiner has pondered whether his team proved that it could work.

“Where Formula 1 is right now, potential is a difficult quantity,” he told Danish site Ekstra Bladet. “You need to find someone who is really, really good.

“Take Oscar Piastri at Silverstone. Fair play to him and he is obviously exceptional. But then you take Nyck. Nyck de Vries is not a bad driver. But he didn’t make it.

“They bring back Danny who last year did not deliver what he is capable of, he will admit that himself. I also think they brought him back because it worked [with an older driver] with us.

“It is getting harder and harder for rookies to get into this sport. All teams are good now. We don’t have backmarkers anymore.

“It is so important for the teams to have good and experienced drivers and it’s even more important at the bottom end [of the table] because we are so close together.

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While Schumacher failed to land a full-time seat after his two debut seasons, he is not the only rookie to have struggled. De Vries may have been 28 but he was also a relative newcomer to the sport while Logan Sargeant is struggling to get going this year.

Steiner commented that when it comes to unknown quantities, “no one dares to take the risk.”

“No one will give a rookie a seat for 10-15 million dollars anymore. You can win 10-15 million with a place in the WC. It’s not worth it anymore. So it will be even more difficult to get new talent from F2 into F1. Because no one dares to take the risk.

“Look at Aston Martin, they took a 41-year-old with a fantastic result. Haas took Hulkenberg, pretty good result. Hopefully it doesn’t go too well for AlphaTauri, but they did the same.”

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