Ralf Schumacher: If Michael had been there, Steiner would’ve treated Mick differently

Michelle Foster
Guenther Steiner finger wags at Mick Schumacher. Bahrain March 2022

Haas team boss Guenther Steiner finger wags at Mick Schumacher. Bahrain March 2022

Ralf Schumacher believes if his brother Michael had been present during Mick’s two seasons with Haas then “Guenther Steiner would have behaved differently”.

Making his Formula 1 debut with Haas in 2021, Mick received most of the plaudits as he comprehensively beat his team-mate Nikita Mazepin in a season in which neither driver scored a point.

Steiner, though, wasn’t worried as Haas didn’t develop the car all season with their full focus on preparing the drivers for a proper fight come 2022.

Haas’ plans changed during pre-season testing when the team parted ways with Mazepin and signed Kevin Magnussen as his replacement. That, though, proved to be an inspired decision with the Dane immediately in the points.

That upped the pressure on Mick’s shoulders, Steiner blaming that for his Jeddah qualifying crash while after his Monaco shunt he was caught on camera by Netflix’s Drive to Survive crew talking about a “‘dead man walking”.

Schumacher is still smarting over Steiner’s treatment of his nephew.

“You have to admit that Mick was too slow in the first half of the season and caused too much damage,” the former Williams and Toyota driver said in an interview with F1-Insider.com.

“If that is then discussed internally, I have no problem with it at all. Eddie Jordan would have been no different to me, Frank Williams has a slightly different way, but no less mean.

“But as a driver you have to live with it. You have to perform, that’s Formula 1.”

“My problem,” he continued, “tended to be subordinate clauses after the interview like: ‘If Mick doesn’t like it with us, he doesn’t have to stay.’

“I didn’t understand that at all. What can Mick do about the interview being conducted?

“And I think that Mick didn’t have a fair chance either, although he performed well. This is also very clear with Netflix.”

He reckons if Mick’s father, seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher, had been in the paddock Steiner would have “behaved differently”.

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“I also believe,” he said, “and that bothers me the most: If my brother had been there, Guenther Steiner would have behaved differently.

“I just think Michael’s presence would have been enough. But again, everyone does what they want.

“But of course Mick is family and you have to understand me: If you treat my family like that, I don’t like it as Ralf Schumacher.”

One could argue that Schumacher’s criticism of Mick’s ex-team boss didn’t help his nephew with former F1 driver Martin Brundle saying the team “were fed up of Mick’s entourage and all the pressures that came with that.”

Schumacher, though, is not backing down in his criticism of Steiner.

“I don’t see it any differently today,” he said. “I think it’s a shame that it had to come to this.

“I think that as a seasoned man you don’t treat a young person like that. Everyone has to and can withstand pressure in Formula 1 but that was just too much.”

This season Mick has followed his father in joining Mercedes, the 23-year-old signing as the team’s official reserve driver for the year.