Mick Schumacher, Haas, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2022

Hulkenberg’s experience made him better option than Schumacher – Steiner

2022 F1 season

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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says that the team chose not to continue with Mick Schumacher as a driver in 2023 because he lacked experience compared to Nico Hulkenberg.

Haas confirmed today that Schumacher will depart the team after this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with veteran driver Hulkenberg replacing him for 2023.

Speaking to media including RaceFans after the announcement, Steiner explained that the main element that Schumacher lacked as a driver was “the experience of multiple years in Formula 1 and never having been with another team than us.”

“While Nico has been with three or four teams before, so he has experience,” Steiner continued. “Experience takes time to make and, at the moment, we don’t have time because we want to move forward. We don’t want to be where we are now, we want to get better.”

After a point-less season in 2021 in which Haas invested all their development time into their 2022 car, the team sit eighth in the constructors’ championship with one race remaining. Steiner believes having an experienced driver line-up will be critical to their efforts to move further up the midfield next season.

“We needed the experience to bring the team forward,” Steiner explained. “I don’t want to say the driver wasn’t ready for the future, the team also needs to be a lot better for the future to get better.

“I’m not blaming it on Mick that we are where we are. In 2018, we made good progress the first years… and then we stagnated in ’19 and then in ’20 we went down. So we need to go forward again and that’s best with experienced people and drivers which have done this before, which can bring experiences into our team which they have made in other teams.”

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Having suffered heavy crashes on various occasions throughout his two years racing with the team, Schumacher had received public criticism from his team principal following his costly accident during the Monaco Grand Prix. However, Steiner insisted that the crashes alone were not the deciding factor in the decision to drop Schumacher just as his strong points-scoring performances at the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone were not enough to earn him a third season.

“It’s bad, but also you cannot just say, ‘oh, he crashed’ obviously which wasn’t good – I’m not trying to make out that’s good, now – but then you could say how much influence have these very good results had?,” Steiner said.

“It’s this balance you need to find. Obviously one thing is very good, where he finished in Austria and Silverstone, was very good results. And then you had the bad things – the crashes. So it’s a mix of it. But it was not one event, as much as it looks like, triggered this. It’s a combination of things. And the biggest thing is, going forward, we just want to build up the team again.”

Steiner confirmed that he had informed Schumacher of the team’s decision yesterday in a face-to-face meeting. Asked how Schumacher had reacted to the news he had lost his seat, Steiner said he had been “very grown-up, I must admit.”

“I said we thank him for what he did, because he was in the team and we were in a difficult time – it wasn’t always rosy here,” Steiner continued. “But he took it as a grown-up, as I said.

“Obviously it’s always emotional, but he actually appreciated we give him a chance. It’s never nice to do this. It’s never a joy to do this. But I just wanted to speak with him about what is going to happen and that happened just yesterday.”

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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  • 12 comments on “Hulkenberg’s experience made him better option than Schumacher – Steiner”

    1. Experience alone wasn’t a factor. The truth is that Mick is a very expensive driver to run, and also a driver you cannot rely on to test upgrades, compare data and actually move the team forward.
      The team desperately need consistency and not some young boy with a strong name that wants to prove to the world he is as good as his father.

      HASS cannot even run different setups of the cars because the likelihood of mick crashing is so high that it renders any test irrelevant.

      1. The HASS is strong with this one.

      2. actually move the team forward

        Haas is not going to ‘move forward’. They’ve outsourced every tiny bit they can to third parties and are doing F1 on the cheap. This is just an elaborate marketing scheme; and fair play to them for making something somewhat decent of it.

        The best Haas can hope for is to have strong first parts of a season, which is fair enough, but there is just about zero chance of Haas in its current setup ever being regular podium contenders.

    2. BLS (@brightlampshade)
      17th November 2022, 13:21

      I think Hulk is the better option out of the two of them, but I do feel there were better options available than Hulk himself.

      1. I agree (and I’m a Hulk fan!). Will be good to see him on the grid full time again, but does seem a bit of an odd decision. That said, I’m glad they didn’t go for Gio, that would’ve been the worst option.

    3. Steiner learned the football strategy of blaming the players.

    4. But that experience is mostly from three years ago & before, so not recent enough to claim he’d realistically be an improvement just because he happens to have more overall F1 racing experience.
      Based on Steiner’s argument, we might as well declare that, for example, Nico Rosberg would be an improvement from Mick, given he has raced in F1 for more seasons than him.

      1. At least being already experienced, he won’t be doing his learning, and crashing while doing it, like Mick has, on a team with a tight budget like Haas.

        At least they passed on Giovinazzi, Hulk makes so much more sense.

        1. Yes, while I thought they could’ve kept schumacher, hulkenberg also imo lost his seat unfairly, and was good enough for f1; giovinazzi was one who crashed a lot too, there’s no chance he’d have been better than schumacher, while hulkenberg might.

    5. So as in any working place F1 has copied the same way. “You need to have at least 5 years of experiense in F1 before joining to F1.

      1. Well now Mick has 40% of that experience.
        When the old school retire he’ll be an attractive proposition for somebody.

    6. So you kick to experienced drivers out coz they are to expensive and don’t bring any added value.
      You put 2 rookies in that can’t learn from anyone but themselves.
      You built a car that is slow and difficult to drive.
      And then you start complaining your rookies aren’t performing as expected.
      And then you bring back 2 experienced bht very mediocre drivers back, and you are back where you started.
      What managerial fail from Steiner.

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