Gene Haas offers Mick Schumacher a guaranteed future

With Formula 1’s silly season almost over, only second seats at Haas and Williams have yet to be decided for the 2023 season. Gunther Steiner has been teasing his ‘Drive to Survive’ audience for several weeks with his take on the future of Mich Schumacher.

The latest news from the cult TV Formula 1 team boss was that ‘home advantage’ played into Mick’s hands despite talks between the Haas F1 team and Nico Hulkenberg over a return to the grid of Formula 1.

F1 has 18 fewer riders this season with just four to go and it is unusual for a team to be undecided at this stage about whether to retain a current driver or move to new pastures.

Haas plays with Schumacher

Williams has made it clear he will part ways with his main sponsor’s son, Nicholas Latifi, but has yet to name who will replace him.

Haas, on the other hand, has stubbornly refused to confirm whether Mick Schumacher will stay with the team or be released.

It is likely that Williams team principal Jost Capito is awaiting Haas’s decision given his recent comments expressing his admiration for the younger Schumacher’s potential.

Gene Haas is something of an absentee team owner, rarely attending races, but he retains the final decision on the composition of his driver line-up for the following season.

Gene Haas Maverick Team Owner

In a famous episode “Drive to survive” from the 2020 season, the Haas team manager receives a call from Gene Haas who tells him that there is “no more money” forcing Gunther to fire Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean and to recruit Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher for the following year.

Mazepin’s father is a Russian oligarch and owner of entry-level giant Ulakrali who became the Haas team’s title sponsor for 2021. Yet after the invasion of Ukraine, Formula 1 vetoed any which is Russian and Mazepin and Uralkali were in the cold.

Mick Schumacher brings the 1&1 sponsorship which has been a lifeline for the team in 2022. Still, given the huge increase in F1 interest in the US, Haas is set to sign a deal for 2023 and beyond with a major US funder.

New Haas F1 sponsor marginalizes Mick

This or of course marginalizes Mick Schumacher’s position given that 1&1 funding is likely to fade into insignificance when the new US corporate deal is announced.

Yet today at the NASCAR event in Las Vegas, Gene Haas broke his silence on the future driver lineup for his Haas F1 team.

“We are just waiting. We need Mick to bring points and we try to give him as much time as possible to see what he can do. Haas told The Associated Press.

“If he wants to stay with us, he has to show us that he can score even more points. That’s what we expect.

With the biggest change in car design regulations in living memory, the Haas F1 team has started the season well. Kevin Magnussen was P5 in the first game in Bahrain, scoring 10 points for the team.

Haas F1 early 2022 exceptional

The Dane earned a P9 in Round 2 in Saudi Arabia and another in Round 4 in Italy. The next points for Haas came as Magnussen scraped a P10 on lap 10 at Silverstone, but team-mate Mick eventually broke his F1 points duck with a P8 finish which he followed up a week later in Austria with a P6 .

Since then caps have been scarce for Haas and they currently sit eighth with Alpha Tauri in the Constructors’ Championship with 34 points.

Gene Haas recognizes this drop in performance, “We started the year with a resounding success and I think the mid-season hasn’t been too good, and we just seem to be falling back into our usual way of racing,”

New FIA cost cap regulations have tightened lap time differences between top and mid-ranked F1 teams, as Gene observes.

“We just have to get out of it. And Formula 1 is so difficult. When I started, there were 6 seconds between the leaders and the backend and you had a 107% rule. Now we are all under 2 seconds so it has become much more difficult and there are no more bad teams.

Gene Haas irritated by Mick’s falls

It seems the Haas team owner has been irritated by the cost of Mick Schumachers’ off-road excursions this season.

“In this sport, being kind of a rookie driver, the sport just doesn’t allow it – it’s just too expensive. If you make mistakes in driver selection, strategy or tire selection, it’s costs millions of dollars.”

“I think Mick has a lot of potential, but you know he costs a fortune and he’s wrecked a lot of cars that cost us a lot of money that we just don’t have. Now if you bring us some points, and you’re (Max) Verstappen and you’re destroying cars, we’ll deal with that, but when you’re in the back and you’re destroying cars, it’s very difficult.

Haas guarantees Schumacher’s future in bizarre ways

Still, the nonconformist Gene Haas in conclusion gives Mick Schumacher a training guarantee for 2023, on one condition.

“Well, if he wins the next one, he’s in. Somewhere in between there’s a gray area.”

Based on Gene’s assessment, it might be wise for Mick Schumacher to beef up the anti with Jost Capito about a Williams practice in 2023 because the likelihood of him or Magnussen winning a race before the end of 2022 is clearly delusional.

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