Haas chief Guenther Steiner has been a vocal critic of Schumacher after a couple of expensive crashes this season, but the German racer has found allies in Ecclestone and former team-mate Mazepin
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Schumacher is still waiting to score his first Formula 1 points, despite being in his second season with Haas and in a more competitive car than he was in his debut year. On top of that, he has been in two very expensive crashes in Jeddah and Monaco which completely destroyed his car.
Those smashes led to public criticism from team boss Steiner, who made little effort to hide his disdain as he tries to run the team with the smallest budget on the grid. “It’s not very satisfactory having a big crash again,” he said, before adding: “We need to see how we move forward from here.”
While some have agreed that the 23-year-old needs to improve in terms of both performances and results, some others have leapt to his defence. The latest to do so is former F1 boss Ecclestone, who admitted Schumacher has been “difficult to assess” but said he wouldn’t have been so heavily criticised if his legendary father Michael had been around to stop it.
“We don’t know how good or bad the car is,” Ecclestone told German broadcaster NTV. “It makes a big difference whether the car suits his driving style or not. He doesn’t need people telling him [negative things] all the time. He needs someone to help him and not criticise him too much.
“If Michael was here, he would tell Gunther where to go – that would help a lot. If he upsets the team and they kick him out, the question then becomes whether another team is ready to take him on. So he’s suffering a bit and hoping someone will give him a chance. He has the ability, so it’s whether there’s a team that wants to take him and try to see if he is as good as his dad.”
Schumacher also found an unlikely ally in the form of his ex-Haas team-mate Mazepin, with whom he did not always have a great relationship before the Russian racer was axed just weeks before the start of the current season. Mazepin also believes that Steiner’s role should be to protect his young driver rather than pile on.
“I was also raised in such a way that it is not customary to judge people who are twice my age. So I won’t do it,” he told Russian outlet Sport-Express. “I don’t know many people who read negative news about themselves and then drove better. If public criticism does help someone then great. But I think it is more useful to personally sit down with a person and express everything one on one.”