Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has spoken out about the team’s decision to let go of Mick Schumacher and sign Nico Hulkenberg in his place last year. In an interview with GP Fans, Steiner explained the reasoning behind the controversial move, stating that it would have been “cheap” to offer Schumacher a third driver role after letting him go.
When asked if Schumacher would have stayed on as the team’s reserve driver, Steiner admitted that he didn’t ask him. However, he suggested that Schumacher may not have been happy with the role, saying, “It’s always difficult for somebody, if you have driven for a team, to then be relegated to reserve driver. I don’t think he would be happy with that.”
Steiner then explained why the team didn’t offer Schumacher the third driver role. He said that Schumacher didn’t approach him about it, and he didn’t want to approach Schumacher either. Steiner added, “It’s a bit cheap to ask him, ‘We won’t let you drive the car, but would you like to be the reserve driver?’”
Haas faced criticism for letting Schumacher go and signing Hulkenberg in his place. Some felt that the team should have done more to help Schumacher stay on the F1 grid. However, Steiner defended the team’s decision, stating that they needed a more experienced driver like Hulkenberg to help them develop the car.
He said, “We needed somebody who has been around for a long time, who can give us feedback and help us move forward. We couldn’t just rely on two rookies.” Steiner also pointed out that Hulkenberg’s experience could help the team avoid making the same mistakes they did in the past.
Steiner explained that while the decision to let Schumacher go was not an easy one, it was necessary for the team’s development. He added, “It’s never nice to let somebody go, but it’s just part of the business. We need to do what’s best for the team.”