Haas should have stuck with Schumacher, says Surer


Former F1 driver Marc Surer believes that Haas have made a mistake by dropping Mick Schumacher after two seasons together.

Schumacher made his debut with the team in the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix, but the 23-year-old German was let go at the end of 2022 in favour of the more experienced Nico Hulkenberg.

However, Surer - who took part in 88 races in the early 1980s for Ensign, ATS, Theodore, Arrows and Brabham before becoming a TV commentator for Sky Sports Germany - felt this was was the wrong decision.

“With Mick you have someone who has now been served practically two years of apprenticeship in Formula 1, and now you push him away," he told formel1.de this week. “Maybe the breakthrough would have come..

"It’s a double-edged sword," he added, conceding that Hulkenberg was the better short-term choice for the team in getting some early results (and points) on the board in 2023.

Mick Schumacher (GER) Haas VF-22.
11.11.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Qualifying

"In the short term, I would say yes, the experienced man who is hungry is the better choice for a year," he said. “But Mick is certainly the better choice in the long term.

“I think we have not seen the best of him yet. He’s a good racing driver and good racers can also become world champions," he continued. "You can see correctly that he has talent."

"If he gets to sit in the right car and it works for him, as we have seen in Formula 2 and in Formula 3, then if it works for him he can implement it.

“He is a strong talent,” Surer insisted. “In terms of speed, he usually gets to the point ... He's not a sensitive driver, but he has always been able to be fast in the car, whether it oversteers or understeers.

“From this point of view ... right now, it’s just a bit messed up," Surer summarised.

Haas' selection of two experienced drivers for 2023 - with Hulkenberg partnered with Kevin Magnussen for the forthcoming season - is definitely a reversal of approach by team principal Guenther Steiner.

Haas released Magnussen and Romain Grosjean at the end of 2020 in favour of al all-rookie line-up consisting of Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.

Mick Schumacher (GER) Haas F1 Team.
28.10.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 20, Mexican Grand Prix, Mexico City, Mexico, Practice

In part is was a way of saving money ahead of a year of 'treading water' in which Haas did little development work on their chassis ahead of the introduction of new technical regulations at the start of last year.

But Mazepin was dropped at the start of 2022 after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, along with title sponsors Uralkali with the team recalling Magnussen at short notice.

And now Schumacher has also gone, after some expensive accidents meant he proved too costly for the team in terms of repair bills.

Hulkenberg is a veteran F1 driver with 181 Grand Prix starts for Williams, Force India, Sauber and Renault. Most recently he made two stand-in appearances at Aston Martin substituting for an unwell Sebastian Vettel.

However in all that time he had never finished on the podium, and at 35 he will be the third oldest driver on this year's grid after Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton putting his long term future in F1 in doubt.

Although Schumacher won't be on the grid for 2023, he has secured a deal to work as reserve driver at Mercedes that should keep him in the running to make a return to the ranks in due course.

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