Haas team principal Guenther Steiner stands by critical comments he made of Mick Schumacher during his last year at the team which appear in the latest season of Formula 1 documentary Drive to Survive.
The fifth season of the popular series appeared on Netflix last month. Its third episode focuses on Schumacher’s struggled during 2022, which led to Steiner replacing him with Nico Hulkenberg for this season.
A series of comments between Steiner and other Haas staff including owner Gene Haas and Schumacher’s team mate Kevin Magnussen reveal the team principal’s growing concern over Schumacher’s performances. Steiner reacted with alarm to Schumacher’s two heavy crashes in Jeddah and Monaco, and criticised the driver’ performance during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, where had fallen 48 seconds behind his team mate (including an extra pit stop) at the time of Magnussen’s retirement from the race shortly after half-distance.
Steiner said it was inevitable the programme makers would only select the most sensational pieces of dialogue to show.
“I didn’t watch it, but I made the comments so I remember some of the things I say,” he explained. “Obviously Drive to Survive shows the worst and the most tricky moments. So obviously that’s what the show needs to do.”
However he insisted he stood by his comments. “Whatever was said, was said. I cannot take that one back and it was decided not to take it out because it you have nothing to hide and it is what it is. I’m not ashamed of it.
“As I said, I can explain it with ‘the heat of the moment’. As a racer you say of things I wouldn’t say now, for example. But things like this happen in racing so we shouldn’t go too deep into it to analyse my mental state.”
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Other F1 figures, including most recently Esteban Ocon, have accused the programme makers of misrepresenting them. The Alpine driver pointed out comments he made after finishing one race had been presented as if they were made during another.
Steiner, who has regularly featured in Drive to Survive since the series first aired in 2019, said he isn’t concerned about his depiction in the series. “I’ve got one team member who watches this and I let somebody else decide,” he said.
It’s always difficult for me to have an opinion about myself, it’s very difficult. Put…
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