Conceding that Haas is “not exactly the best team at the moment”, Guenther Steiner feels it is the right outfit for Mick Schumacher as that means less pressure.
Haas announced earlier this week that Formula 2 championship leader Schumacher would join the team in 2021, signing a multi-year deal to partner Nikita Mazepin.
It is an all rookie line up and one that Steiner acknowledges comes with risk and fun.
“I am aware of the responsibility,” he told F1-Insider. “I also know what it means to deal with young drivers like Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.
“There will be ups and downs. But when you have the opportunity to do something like this, you should take the chance.
“No risk, no fun. I don’t like people who always say no out of precaution.”
But what it doesn’t come with is added pressure for Schumacher.
Following in his father Michael Schumacher’s footsteps, the media spotlight will be firmly on Schumacher but, racing for a team such as Haas, means he’s not expected to be challenging for wins and World titles.
“To be honest,” Steiner said, “we are not exactly the best team at the moment. But for Mick it’s a good thing. It gives us the opportunity to grow together. He knows where he stands. And he’s not under so much pressure at the beginning.
“If we had a super-fast car that you could race at the front under your own power, everyone would expect victories from a Schumacher. That’s not the case with us. That means he has more time and peace to improve and learn.
“In addition: 2021 is a transition year for us, because the regulations will not change drastically until 2022. That’s why I wanted drivers who would learn in 2021 and be ready in 2022.
“I take this responsibility very seriously. There will certainly be criticism, but I accept that. I don’t like simple things anyway, but I love a challenge.”
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Schumacher has been a Ferrari junior for the past two seasons with the Scuderia reportedly paying half his 600,000 Euro wages for 2021.
Asked if Haas, who have a close technical partnership with Ferrari, had a say in his signing or if the Scuderia called the shots, Steiner said: “We started talking when I made the decision to work with young drivers. We wanted to have the best, and if he was also called Schumacher, all the better.”
It has, however, lead to even closer ties with Ferrari with Simone Resta moving from the Italian outfit over to Haas.
But don’t expect Haas to do a Racing Point.
“Hopefully they can help us, but the regulations clearly define what you are allowed to do and what you cannot do,” Steiner said. “You are not allowed to copy cars, we have learned that since this season.”
But what the Austrian would most like from Ferrari next season is a competitive engine. “That would definitely help,” he acknowledged.
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