Steiner: Mick and Mazepin would blend into the midfield

Michelle Foster
Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin. Sakhir 2021

Nikita Mazepin with Mick Schumacher ahead of testing at the Bahrain International Circuit. Sakhir 2021

Nearing the end of a difficult 2021 campaign, Guenther Steiner is adamant 2022 will be a better season for Haas and its drivers.

Signing two rookies for this year’s championship, Haas made the decision from the get-go to focus on developing the drivers, and not the car.

That has shown in the team’s results.

With just two races remaining on the calendar, Haas is the only team not to have scored a single point.

Mick Schumacher is P19 in the Drivers’ Championship thanks to his P12 at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix while his team-mate Nikita Mazepin is sitting in the wooden spoon position, P21.

Steiner, however, firmly believes that next year – when Haas have a better car – his lads will be involved in the mid-field fight.

Asked if Schumacher and Mazepin can deliver, the Italian replied: “Yes, I’ve seen enough.

“Obviously it will be the next step of development, when you are fighting for something.

“How to react? I cannot see that as the guys have not had the chance to do this this year, except between themselves – and we know how that ended.

“I think they learned a lot out of that one, so I think it was worthwhile to do anyway, the exercise. But I think if we can give them a competitive car for the midfield, I think they will blend in there pretty good.”

But while the team boss concedes 2021 has not been an easy season for Haas, he says they are motivated for 2022.

“It isn’t easy but the further we get on in the season, the better it gets because we can see light at the end of the tunnel, hopefully,” he said.

“At least we know we get a new car, we are in the development game as well next year so I think in the mid-season, just before the summer break it was the toughest period, I would say, for everybody because the results weren’t good, but after that we had a few little highs, they are very small highs but like last weekend or two weekends ago in Doha, Mick, in the race, stayed close to our competitors in front of us.

“We were as close as we ever were which is pretty good because we know we haven’t done any development and other people have, so some things we are doing right. Hopefully, the car next year is what we expect it to be and we will have fun again.”

As for his expectations for next year with F1’s all-new cars, he is “cautiously optimistic” that it will be a better year for Haas.

“I wouldn’t say the expectations are higher; our expectations need to be realistic,” he said.

“We have done it before, in 2018 with finished fifth in the championship, in our first year we finished eighth.

“I know we have got a lot of the same people still, so we haven’t gone stupid in two years. We know why we fell back, so I’m cautiously optimistic about it.


“But what I do not know is how strong the other ones are. If we have done a good job and the other ones have done a great job, we are still behind.

“But we will see that only in February or March when we go testing, and maybe even after the first race in Bahrain.”