Steiner’s retort to Wolff’s criticism of Schumacher treatment

Guenther Steiner has responded to Toto Wolff’s criticism of the treatment of Mick Schumacher by the Haas F1 team. 
Steiner’s retort to Wolff’s criticism of Schumacher treatment

Schumacher lost his Haas seat to Nico Hulkenberg for 2023 after a disappointing second season that was littered by several crashes which incurred hefty damage bills and led to a strained relationship between driver and team. 

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Team principal Steiner and Haas owner Gene Haas were critical of the German driver throughout the campaign, which was highlighted in the latest season of the Netflix documentary Drive To Survive

Left without a full-time drive on the F1 grid for this year, Schumacher was picked up by Mercedes to act as their back-up for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell

In a recent interview with Blick, Mercedes boss Wolff said he was “looking out for the little one” and claimed that Steiner “would not have dared to treat Mick like that” had his legendary father Michael been present. 

Seven-time world champion Michael suffered severe head injuries in a skiing accident in December 2013 and has not been since in public since. 

Steiner was offered the opportunity to respond to Wolff’s accusation in an appearance on Sky Sports ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. 

"What I have to say is, if my father would have been around Toto wouldn't have said the things he said,” he said. 

(L to R): Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director with Mick Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1
(L to R): Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive…

Steiner insisted Schumacher was treated fairly during his time at Haas and suggested the Schumacher family ultimately caused a “divide” between the two parties. 

"I think they tried to put pressure on to keep Mick and blame all the team and I don't think that was good for Mick,” Steiner told the Sky Sports F1 Podcast. 

"In the end, they didn't actively try to divide us but that's what they did. I think he didn't feel good when he heard the things 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 they try to do this because in the end the team decides who is going to drive the car and not the driver which car he is driving. There is no point to upset a team about a driver because you want to say 'Guenther didn't take care enough of Mick and how I do things’.

"In the end, he scored points. Nobody says 'that's because Guenther managed Mick like this', nobody came with that and I don't expect that like I don't expect to be blamed if he crashes. The driver has to do that himself to get the points and not to crash.

"The responsibility of the team is to give the driver the best car they can, and we always did that, and be fair to both drivers that they both get the same level of car, we always did that.

"And if we didn't do that then we explained, for example, that an upgrade, only one part was available and you share it. We were very open about it, we never hid anything or gave an advantage to one or the other driver because that is a principle of my life - you need to treat people fairly to get the best out of it.

"In the end, who wants the drivers to perform at their best? Me and the team so why would I try to sabotage any of our drivers?

"In the end, this is part of a team principal life that some people don't like what you're doing. I don't really care if somebody doesn't like what I do. Just say it - it doesn't do anything, I will not change because I don't feel I need to change because of somebody who has not walked in the team.”

Mick Schumacher (GER) Haas VF-22 crashed out of the race. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte
Mick Schumacher (GER) Haas VF-22 crashed out of the race. Formula 1 World…

Amid reports that the pair have fallen out, Steiner revealed he has only had brief contact with Schumacher since their split at the end of 2022. 

"I haven't seen Mick yet this year,” he explained. “I think I saw him at testing and said hello but since then I didn't see him because he is now at the other side of the paddock where the champions are. I didn't run into him at the three races so far.

"I have no problems saying hello, I don't know how he will react but I think we are all grown up.

"In the end, we had two years together, we tried to do something, we gave Mick an opportunity which I think needs to be respected. Haas F1 gave him the opportunity and we all need to move on. Formula 1 is quite a small circus so there is no point to fight or not say hello to anybody."

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