SEPTEMBER 12, 2022
Haas boss Steiner plays down Ricciardo rumours
A cloud is continuing to hang over Mick Schumacher's future in Formula 1.
Although the German has upped his game at recent grands prix, Haas boss Gunther Steiner admits that Kevin Magnussen's teammate for 2023 "hasn't been decided yet".
"We are considering what is best for the development of the team," he told Speed Week. "Do we only look at the technology or also the driving element?
"To be honest, we don't know if Mick will stay or not. He delivered very good races in Canada, England and Austria, but he lacks the consistency to perform well.
"We're in no hurry on the driver issue and Mick still has chances to show what he can do," Steiner added.
Perhaps even more worryingly for the son of F1 legend Michael Schumacher is that the 23-year-old appears to have even lost the backing of Ferrari's driver academy.
"It was another unfortunate weekend for Mick," Ferrari's Mattia Binotto told Sky Italia when asked about Schumacher's future after the Italian GP. "So it's difficult to judge his performance after this weekend.
"We still have a few races and then we'll sit down with Haas and hopefully find the best decision for him and his future."
According to the German press, Nico Hulkenberg has emerged as the surprise frontrunner to emerge from his F1 sabbatical to form a very experienced driver lineup for Haas next year.
When asked about the 35-year-old German, Steiner answered at Monza: "I've talked to most of the potential drivers, which is my job.
"There's nothing concrete yet, but we only want to take the smallest risks for the development of the team. You can take a big risk which is great when it works, but it's bad when it doesn't."
The implication of that is that Haas is looking for an experienced and technically-minded teammate for Dane Magnussen.
"That's right, but there are none of those who are currently on the market," said Steiner. "Except maybe Daniel (Ricciardo), but his form isn't great at the moment and we don't know what he's going to do.
"Maybe he'll sit out a year. As I said, I talk to everyone."