“They tried to divide us” – Guenther Steiner on how the German media impacted Mick Schumacher at Haas | F1
Haas dropped Schumacher for F1 2023 after growing increasingly frustrated with the number of high-profile crashes he had.
Schumacher’s uncle – former Williams and Toyota driver Ralf Schumacher – was increasingly critical during Sky’s TV broadcasts in Germany about Steiner and the team’s handling of his nephew.
Speaking on the latest episode of Sky Sports’ F1 podcast, Steiner spoke about the influence of the German media, alluding to the Schumacher family, and the impact it had on relations at Haas.
“I think they tried to put pressure on Mick to blame all of the team and I don’t think that was good for Mick,” he said. “They didn’t actively try to divide us but that is what they did I think. I think he didn’t feel good when he heard the things that were talked about me and I didn’t feel good coming from their side. In the end, they tried to divide us.
“This is not good for Mick even if you tried to do this because in the end the team decides who is going to the car, not the driver. There’s no point to upset a team about a driver because you want to say ‘Guenther didn’t take care enough of Mick’. In the end he scored points, nobody says that is because Guenther managed Mick like this – nobody came with that and I don’t expect it.
“I don’t expect to be blamed if he crashes because the driver has to do that himself, to get the points and not to crash.”
Steiner dismissed suggestions that he or his team deliberately favoured another driver over Schumacher, insisting they were always “fair”.
“The responsibility of the team is to give the best car we can – we always did that,” he added. “To be fair to both drivers so they both get the same level of car – we always did that – and if we didn’t do that we explained that, for example if there’s only part of an upgrade available they’d share it.
“We were very open about it. We never hid anything or gave an advantage to one or the other driver because that’s a principle of my life. You have to treat people fairly to get out of them because in the end who wants the drivers to perform at their best?
“Me and the team. Why would I try to sabotage any of our drivers. That was not understood and in the end this is part of our life, of a team principal’s life, that some people don’t like what you’re doing.
“I think people know how I feel about it. I don’t really care. If someone doesn’t like what I do, just say it but it doesn’t do anything. I will not change because I don’t feel I need to change because of somebody of who has no vote in the team.”