Ralf Schumacher has accused Haas of making “decisions that tend towards” Kevin Magnussen over Mick Schumacher after the German went from first to 18th at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Starting Sunday’s wet Japanese Grand Prix from 15th on the grid, Schumacher made a great start to run P10 when the Safety Car came out before the race was red flagged due to several lap 1 incidents.
Like the rest of the field he took the restart on the full wets, the race getting back underway with a rolling restart.
But with the conditions more conducive to the intermediate Pirellis, the field began to pit one after the other, Schumacher up to second and then first when Max Verstappen stopped.
He was only briefly in the lead before the Red Bull driver reclaimed the position, after which Charles Leclerc also passed him. Haas told Schumacher they were gambling on another Safety Car, it didn’t come.
The team eventually called him in on lap 10, Schumacher the last to swap to the green walled tyres, and falling all the way to the back of the field.
He finished P18 while his team-mate Kevin Magnussen, who started behind him, was 14th as Haas pitted him when the rest of the field stopped.
Ralf Schumacher says once again Haas favoured the Dane over Schumacher.
“It wouldn’t be the first time that Haas made decisions that tend towards Magnussen and not toward Mick,” he said to Sky Deutschland.
Lap 12/28 mins left: Unfortunately the gamble didn’t pay off and there’s been no further heavy rain.
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) October 9, 2022
Schumacher was asked about Haas’ strategy call in the immediate aftermath of the grand prix, quoted by F1-Insider as saying: “Hopefully I’ll find out soon. It is clear that the situation was not what we had imagined.
“We had hoped for a Safety Car so that we could then change the tyyres. But that has not been the case.”
The German was disappointed to miss out on a chance of fighting for points, as he felt his VF-22 had better pace on the inters.
“Points were up for grabs and we didn’t manage to get them,” he said, “but definitely the speed was there.
“Our car is very strong, especially on inters, but unfortunately we put them on a bit too late.
“The fact that we were running P3 at some point, and even did our first leading meters in P1 is something positive.”
Team boss Guenther Steiner concedes Haas were “too reactive” with their strategy.
“We were caught on our backfoot with the strategy,” said the team boss. “We were too reactive and not proactive, and we ended up down the classification.
“It’s very difficult to make these decisions as we all know, and afterwards we’re always smarter with hindsight.
“We’ll review what we did and see that we do better next time.”