AUGUST 30, 2022
Binotto, Steiner to sit down for Schumacher talks
Mattia Binotto isn't sure if Mick Schumacher will still be on the Formula 1 grid next year.
The 23-year-old German made his debut for Haas last year and impressed alongside Nikita Mazepin, but his performances have been more mixed when paired with the experienced Kevin Magnussen in 2022.
Schumacher is tentatively linked with the vacant seat at Alpine, but most insiders suspect that if he is ousted by Haas, he may not find another ride in F1.
"We all know that Formula 1 is always about performance," Haas boss Gunther Steiner told Sky Deutschland. "That's why the decision takes time.
"We don't want to decide something now that we would regret in two months."
It is even rumoured that, perhaps at the advice of his mentor Sebastian Vettel, Schumacher is set to depart Ferrari's driver academy.
Steiner has made no secret of the fact that Ferrari, headed by Mattia Binotto, has a big say on the occupant of one of Haas' annual race seats.
Antonio Giovinazzi - still a clear Ferrari academy driver - will drive the Haas in free practice at Monza and again in Austin, with Steiner admitting it was at Ferrari's behest.
At the same time, Binotto is not willing to say if Schumacher will be at Haas next year.
"He has improved in the last few races, but it's still too early to judge," said the Italian at Spa-Francorchamps.
However, Steiner pointed out at Spa that Ferrari in fact will not have a say about Haas' 2023 driver lineup.
Binotto said: "We will sit down with Gunther and make a decision."
Vettel insists that Schumacher deserves to stay in Formula 1, and points the finger at Haas for not providing him with a good enough car.
"The car isn't as good as it was at the beginning of the year, so when you can't be fifth or sixth it's difficult to attract attention.
"But he's doing a good job in the background and I hope he stays in there and gets a good car."
Former F1 driver Karl Wendlinger, meanwhile, questioned the way Steiner has handled the issue of whether Schumacher will be offered a race seat for 2023.
"I think it's bad that the discussion at Haas is so open," he told Sport1. "If they are not satisfied with him, it should be discussed internally.
"If they have any interest in continuing to work with this young man, then they should work on it quietly, build him up, support him and then bring him to his performance.
"With such a public discussion, I'm not sure if there is a future at all."