Mick Schumacher has an “advantage” over other candidates for the race seat at 2023, boss Gunther Steiner has admitted.
However, after the small American team failed to score a single point with rookies Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin last year, Steiner also insists that Haas is “done with rookies for the foreseeable future”.
It’s a strong hint that, on the negotiating table, Schumacher is fighting against highly experienced candidates including Nico Hulkenberg and even Daniel Ricciardo.
McLaren refugee Ricciardo, however, is reportedly much closer to inking a deal to be Mercedes’ reserve driver next year.
“It’s not like there’s a problem,” the Australian said at Suzuka. “It’s more just taking the time to figure out what’s ultimately the best thing for me next year.
“There’s not a rush or any pressure or anything to go and quickly sign something and be done with it.”
The 33-year-old’s comments would appear to line up with both Haas and Williams’ position of potentially waiting until after the season to name their second drivers for 2023.
“It’s not like we’re just sitting around doing nothing,” Haas’ Steiner insists. “But we have the rare opportunity to see everything in peace.”
German media claimed last week that Schumacher’s talks about a potential 2023 deal with Haas began in earnest in Singapore.
Steiner said the son of F1 legend Michael Schumacher is still in the frame.
“If you can have someone you’ve worked with for two years, it’s always better than bringing in someone new,” he admitted.
“Mick didn’t get his points with luck but through performance. I’ve always said that. The points are a result of a development.”
When asked if he and team boss Gene Haas will be ready to complete next year’s driver lineup before the season finale in Abu Dhabi, Steiner answered: “I hope so.
“There’s no joy for me in giving you an answer that you do not like. ‘I don’t know’ is the answer. I don’t enjoy giving that answer and I’m not trying to be rude.”