Steiner finds it "difficult" to say right things to Haas F1 duo

Haas Formula 1 team boss Gunther Steiner has admitted that he finds it ‘difficult’ at times to say the right things to his new rookie drivers.

The American-owned outfit is facing a tough time this year with a decision to not develop its car meaning it has fallen to the back of the field.

And with both Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin having endured some tricky times as they get used to F1 machinery, Steiner is well aware that he needs to carefully manage the situation.

While Steiner has a reputation for being brutally honest with his feelings on drivers, as was often seen in the Netflix: Drive to Survive series, he says he is having to be more cautious in what he says.

Speaking to the In the Fast Lane podcast that is produced by the Australian Grand Prix corporation, Steiner explained that saying the wrong thing to his drivers could end up having a negative impact.

“I need to think a lot more and analyse a lot more where we can make the quickest gains,” he said. “It's difficult sometimes, because the wrong words maybe do the wrong things. So, for me, the biggest challenge is to give them the confidence that they are confident in what they are doing.

“Think about that you're a 21-22 year old guy, which comes into Formula 1, and all the pressure is on you. It's not easy, just in your head, to deal with it. Never mind to race one of these cars, which are very tricky….So it's just like trying to fill in, where I can see weaknesses where they struggle most.”

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Steiner said that even experienced drivers like Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen needed encouragement at times to deliver to their best.

“I mean, Kevin, the first year, when he came to us, I would say, even if he had done already two years in F1, he was pretty insecure and not believing in himself," revealed Steiner. "So he was also a little bit to be helped, but he picked up very quick once he saw that the team is behind him, and that we are supporting him.

“And that is what I try to do with Mick and Nikita, to just tell them 'we are here for you guys, we are your first helpers, you know, you need to trust us, we are doing the best we can to help you'. You just need to keep your head down, focus, work hard and just be concentrated.”

Steiner says that Schumacher is ‘very humble’ in his approach to the job, while his teammate Nikita Mazepin has had a more difficult start in the wake of some early season incidents in Bahrain and Imola.

“I would say his confidence got a little bit knocked when he came in. You know, Bahrain was very difficult circumstances, with the track and with the wind, and he had a few spins and I think that made him a little bit insecure. Then, as I said, Mick did a great job,” said Steiner.

“But I think he's now coming to grips with that, you know. He made a big step forward in Imola. So I think he will come up. But for sure it was a little bit more of a shock feeling for him, but he is getting his act together in the moment, you know, I can see that he's making progress. I spoke with him all over the weekend, you know, just trying to mentor him through to do the best he can.”

Additional reporting by Oleg Karpov

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Series Formula 1
Teams Haas F1 Team
Author Jonathan Noble
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