After criticism earlier in the season, Mick Schumacher asks people to stop focusing on creating headlines and on the facts instead.
There was little expectation on Schumacher in his rookie Formula 1 season, particularly due to the fact that Haas’ VF-21 could rarely muster a challenge against a rival team.
But the situation changed after a major overhaul to the regulations for 2022 saw Haas starting the season as a leading midfield outfit. Kevin Magnussen scored a P5 finish on his first race back after the call came in pre-season for him to return to Haas in place of Nikita Mazepin.
Schumacher though went through the early rounds still unable to score points for the first time, while heavy crashes in Saudi Arabia and Monaco created further tension.
The 23-year-old would snap that streak though with a pair of impressive showings as he finished P8 at Silverstone and then P6 in Austria, those results going a long way to dull the criticism which had significantly built up.
Schumacher did not take too kindly to this criticism, believing it came from people who did not always know all of the facts behind the situation.
Motorsport.com cite the Spanish Grand Prix as an example where Schumacher was forced to battle with suspension issues.
“People are kind of focused on building headlines, in a way,” he told Motorsport.com.
“Yeah, I understand that people need to make money and they need to do some stuff. But on the other hand, also, I would appreciate if people would, you know, maybe take more time, to actually build up facts.”
Schumacher at no stage began to doubt his own capabilities behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car, refusing to get caught up in reflecting on errors like those in Saudi Arabia and Monaco.
Instead, he looks forward, and feels that he can transfer his trend of finding the top two positions in junior series into the same result in Formula 1.
“I don’t really reflect on those again, or go back to those, I know what I’m able to do. I know what I’m worth,” Schumacher affirmed.
“So, my focus is really on that. I just try to do my best and normally, the best that I can do, should be enough to perform well, because it has been like that in Formula 2 and Formula 3. And also Formula 4.
“In each championship that I’ve competed in in junior categories, I was able to be the second or first. So I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be able to do that in Formula 1.”
Some of the criticism coming at Mick Schumacher was justified
As the son of Michael Schumacher, Mick was probably the most heavily scrutinised junior driver of all time, and spilling over into Formula 1, that always carried the risk of criticism bubbling up when he struggled to perform, but was it uncalled for?
Schumacher did have a very hard time in the earlier rounds trying to reach the level of Magnussen, which was concerning since Magnussen had not enjoyed the luxury of a complete pre-season behind the wheel of the VF-22 like his team-mate had.
The Monaco crash looked worse than it was, though the qualifying shunt at the Saudi Arabian GP was a major one, and while Schumacher thankfully walked away unharmed, that was certainly not true for Haas’ bank account.
That raises a different point – not all of the criticism was coming from the outside. After Saudi Arabia and through the following rounds, Haas’ team boss Guenther Steiner arguably put just as much pressure on Schumacher as anyone, while also making reference several times to a lack of spare parts for the team, we wonder why…
Schumacher admitted to “tension” existing between the pair during his struggle for form, and while the negative talk understandably would not be welcomed by a driver at difficult times, arguably it is also not realistic to expect everyone to turn a blind eye.
What Schumacher needs to focus on now is performing at a level which leaves the critics with nothing to do but watch the tumbleweed pass through. As Silverstone and Austria showed, many were also quick to praise Schumacher highly when he did deliver.