Wolff: Haas handling of Schumacher very different with Michael around

Toto Wolff believes Haas “would not have dared treat” Mick Schumacher the way it did had his legendary father been at his side during his two years with the US outfit.

Schumacher was dropped by Haas at the end of last year to make way for the experienced Nico Hulkenberg.

The first part of Schumacher’s 2022 campaign with the team, during which the young German crashed twice – in Jeddah and in Monaco – and wrote off a pair of VF-22 chassis likely weighed heavily in Haas’ decision to part ways with the 24-year-old.

Unfortunately, Schumacher’s much improved second half of the year was not enough to swing the pendulum back in his favour and award him a third year with the team.

Instead, the young gun was picked up by Mercedes to serve as its reserve driver.

“I can only say that his parents did nothing wrong in bringing him up,” Wolff told veteran F1 reporter Roger Benoit from Switzerland’s Blick.

“And I claim that if Michael had accompanied his son during the two Haas years, [Haas team boss] Steiner would not have dared to treat Mick like that!”

Schumacher is embedding this season with the Mercedes team at every race, and as the Brackley squad’s acting reserve, he is first in line to replace either Lewis Hamilton or George Russell if necessary.

“If one of our drivers gets Covid or gets injured, Mick will be in the Mercedes! Period, end of discussion!” stated Wolff.

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Wolff also revealed that Mercedes is trying to put together a minimum test programme for Schumacher this year with one of its older-spec cars.

“We’re trying to get an old car ready for him as soon as possible.”

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Despite there being little chance of Schumacher racing for Mercedes next season, the German is hopeful of rejoining the fray at some point with another team.

“There’s obviously no guarantee [that I return to the grid in 2024], but I’m in a comfortable position where I feel I can learn, I can extract the maximum from this year even though I’m not driving,” he said earlier this year.

“But with the results I’ve shown in the junior categories, but also in F1, I’m sure there will be opportunities.

“Over the winter a few people have already mentioned that there is interest, so in that sense I’m not too worried.”

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