Haas team boss Guenther Steiner made it clear that Ferrari have sent Mick Schumacher, rather than him being there due to sponsorship.
During the latest season of Drive to Survive, Steiner was seen negotiating with 1&1 over a sponsorship deal, and the German firm were very interested is making sure that a driver from their nation was on the 2021 grid.
Schumacher, the reigning Formula 2 champion, is a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, and Haas enjoy links with the Scuderia. But that scene cast doubt over who actually made sure that Schumacher joined Haas, since 1&1 did go on to become a major sponsor of the American team.
Steiner, though, said that it was Ferrari’s call to send Schumacher to Haas.
“The 1&1 sponsorship is a Haas team sponsorship, it’s not a Mick sponsorship, just to clarify that,” he said, as quoted by RaceFans.net.
“There is no direct connection between 1&1 and Mick. Obviously 1&1 embraces Mick being at Haas, but this was a parallel development, not a combined development.
“For sure it helped us with 1&1 and 1&1 is very happy about having Mick at Haas. But that, it was more like a decision from Ferrari where to send the drivers and we asked if we can have him because he won Formula 2. But it is not a direct negotiation going on between the company and Mick.”
Haas feared heading into the Bahrain Grand Prix that the 2021 season could be a very difficult campaign, and those fears were realised as the team spent the weekend off the pace of the midfield runners.
Schumacher did though enjoy a respectable debut weekend, qualifying P19 and going on to finish the race one lap down in P16, the last of the classified drivers.
Team-mate Nikita Mazepin meanwhile endured one of the worst days of his life on debut.
Qualifying saw the Russian racer spin twice, the second of which had a ripple effect for many other drivers who were forced to give up their final flying lap as the yellow flags came out at the end of Q1 to cover the stricken Haas driver.
Mazepin would then bin his VF-21 into the wall as he exited Turn 2 on the opening lap.