Mick Schumacher’s fate at Haas may now have been sealed.
It is rumoured the small American team has decided to split with the 23-year-old German, after owner Gene Haas indicated that only a late string of points-scoring results would safeguard his seat for 2023.
In Mexico, the son of F1 legend Michael Schumacher was on course for a strong qualifying result when he cut a corner and could not get out of Q1.
When asked what boss Gunther Steiner said about the incident, Schumacher revealed: “He saw that I was fast and he said that it was a shame.”
Mick’s uncle Ralf told Sky Deutschland: “I have to agree with Mick that he has the pace.
“But such mistakes actually shouldn’t happen. It happened even to Hamilton, but that shouldn’t be an excuse. It’s a learning process but he has to be learning quickly.
“He was in a different world compared to his teammate, but that alone makes it more difficult for the team to make a decision,” Schumacher added.
“The team is relying on him, especially with his pace.”
Veteran F1 commentator Martin Brundle agrees, calling Schumacher’s mistake “silly”.
The latest rumour is that Haas has now definitively decided to replace Schumacher with the German veteran Nico Hulkenberg, who has been out of F1 full-time since the end of 2019.
The deal could be announced immediately before the forthcoming Brazilian GP.
It is believed Antonio Giovinazzi is no longer in the running for the seat and will instead drive a factory-prepared Ferrari in the world endurance championship.
“We will get to a decision – hopefully soon,” Steiner said in Mexico. “But nothing is decided 100 percent yet.
“We are just going through the last details of what we have to sort out, and then we will make a decision. This is an important decision for the team, and there is enough to focus on to get better.”
Indeed, another issue for Haas is engine reliability, amid constant rumours that the team might be considering a move away from Ferrari power.
“It should be ok now with the new power units that are coming in, and hopefully for next year it is resolved because we had quite a few issues this year,” said Steiner.
“It is not completely out of our hands because we can go somewhere else, but that is maybe a worse decision for us. There are always pros and cons to everything.”
The good news for Haas is the cash-injection of a new title sponsor for 2023 and beyond. Reports indicate the Moneygram deal is worth $20 million a year.
Continuing Haas driver Kevin Magnussen thinks the team will spend the money wisely.
“Our pitstops are not slow because our mechanics are bad,” he insisted to the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet. “Our equipment is just old.
“Ours is from 2016 – it’s 2022 now. That’s 100,000 years in Formula 1.”