Haas Formula 1 team picked Mick Schumacher as one of their drivers for 2021 lineup due to his strong performance in Formula 2 and not to secure backing from a sponsor, Haas team boss Guenther Steiner said in a statement.
Steiner admitted last year the team was in a difficult financial situation following the disruption caused by the pandemic. Its new drivers for the 2021 F1 season have links to sources of income the team has obtained for the new season. Nikita Mazepin’ father runs Uralkali, the team’s new title sponsor.
Negotiations between Haas and another new sponsor, German internet services firm 1&1, were shown in the recent Netflix Drive to Survive documentary. The company was depicted as being keen to position their brand alongside a German driver.
However Steiner said Schumacher was chosen for his ability, rather than the income he attracted. “The 1&1 sponsorship is a Haas team sponsorship, it’s not a Mick sponsorship, just to clarify that,” he said.
“There is no direct connection between 1&1 and Mick. Obviously 1&1 embraces Mick being at Haas, but this was a parallel development, not a combined development.”
Schumacher won the F2 championship last year and is a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy which eased his path into one of the Scuderia’s customer teams, Steiner explained.
“For sure it helped us with 1&1 and 1&1 is very happy about having Mick at Haas. But that, it was more like a decision from Ferrari where to send the drivers and we asked if we can have him because he won Formula 2. But it is not a direct negotiation going on between the company and Mick.”