Haas chief Steiner defends Schumacher treatment: 'I tried to do a good job'

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Haas chief Guenther Steiner has defended the treatment of Mick Schumacher during his time at the team.

The young German had a difficult two years at the American outfit and was ultimately dropped at the end of last season in favour of Nico Hulkenberg for 2023.

Explaining that decision, Steiner argued Haas needs two drivers who can help push the team higher up the grid, and Schumacher simply wasn't doing that enough.

“We are the youngest team and over the last two years, we have lost a little bit of our momentum,” he told Sky Sports' F1 Show in Abu Dhabi.

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“So it’s how can we bring the team back where we want to be, like in 2018 and maybe ’19, which was better than the last two years.

“You know Mick did a good job but we need to carry him and we need somebody to carry us a little bit.

“We waited a long time because it wasn’t a clear decision and we wanted to make sure that next year we don’t regret that we made a quick decision.

“But I think this [signing Hulkenberg] is the best we can do for the team to move up again to where we really want to be.”

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Already carrying the burden of his surname, Schumacher faced growing pressure after several hefty crashes early in the year and also failing to score his first F1 points until Silverstone.

However, the Haas boss insists he gave Mick more than enough time to prove himself.

“Absolutely, I think we did a good job in that one,” Steiner said.

“I think as I always said, we treat every driver fair and we do the best we can and sometimes it wasn’t good enough from the team. I’m fully standing behind that, you know, it wasn’t [always] him not performing.

“We had issues. We were not good enough and we need to fix that one. But I think we always gave him the best we could and were always fair, there was equality with the drive of last year and this year.

“There was always no issue with that one.”

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The Italian is seen as one of the more colourful figures in F1, garnering a cult following due to his appearances on Netflix's Drive to Survive.

But Steiner also downplayed suggestions from former driver Ralf Schumacher that he was trying to gain attention via Mick.

“I tried to do a good job,” he said.

“It’s not about attention, it’s not about my attention it’s about doing a good job. If people take attention off it, I cannot say, don’t look at me. I’m not doing it on purpose.

“I don’t think I need to defend myself here. Everybody can do and say what they want and I do what I think is best for the team and leave it at that.”

He also denied any suggestions of a fallout with Schumacher towards the end of their relationship.

“No,” Steiner said. “With Mick, this is not an issue for me. I cleared that air very well with him and I know that it is not him. It has nothing to do with him.”