Haas team principal Guenther Steiner admits he is trying not to get too involved on a personal level with the work being done with his new rookie drivers.
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Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher replaced the more experienced pair of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen over the winter, and both had spins at the opening race in Bahrain. While Schumacher could continue after his one error, Mazepin had multiple issues and crashed out at the third corner of the race, but Steiner says he tries to give the drivers space to work on improvements with their engineers at this point in their careers.
“It is quite a big challenge,” Steiner said. “Formula 1 is a very difficult sport, but we knew the challenge, therefore there’s no big surprise. We decided to do this and we need to get through it.
“I just try to see it that the drivers feel comfortable – I don’t try to micromanage them. They have their engineers and they need to work with them on a day-to-day basis, or more accurately on an hour-to-hour basis, not with me.
“For sure though, in the beginning, I will be well-informed what is happening and try to see where I may need to intervene. I’m not doing the job myself; I’ve got good people working for the team, which know how to do the job better than me. I just observe what is happening. If there’s a problem I’m there to ask what it is and then I see if I need to do something.”
Steiner is taking a backseat on being heavily involved in the development of Nikita Mazepin (left) and Mick Schumacher (right). (Glenn Dunbar/Motorsport Images)
For Schumacher, it has been important to use the three-week break between races to analyze as much as possible from Bahrain, after so many new experiences as an F1 rookie.
“I think in general I’ve learned a ton of new things, and we’ve seen that come through in all the meetings we’ve had,” Schumacher said. “It’s always different talking about it and feeling it. There are a lot of things I learned about the tires, that’s probably the biggest new thing to me. Also, on things like how much downforce we lose at the start of the race. It’s like going from 100 percent downforce to 20 percent downforce the moment you’re turning into a corner.
“There was definitely lots learned and lots to look at before heading to Imola. I feel I have a lot more knowledge, a lot more comfort, but I was also really surprised at how quickly the weekend was over. It all happened in the blink of an eye – it was a case of little time and lots to learn, let’s put it like that.”