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Schumacher and Mazepin 'understand' there is no need for friendship

Schumacher and Mazepin 'understand' there is no need for friendship

F1 News

Schumacher and Mazepin 'understand' there is no need for friendship

Schumacher and Mazepin 'understand' there is no need for friendship
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has claimed Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin failed to understand last season that "F1 is a team sport" but eventually realised they "don't need to be friends".

Both drivers endured difficult rookie seasons given the lack of competitiveness of the team's VF-21, although German Schumacher was able to draw on the occasional positive with drives in Hungary and Turkish Grand Prix qualifying.

The season, however, was marred by flashpoints between the team-mates, with the animosity notably coming to a head in the Netherlands.

The relationship eventually appeared repaired when Mazepin invited Schumacher for activities in Russia.

Reflecting on his drivers' relationship in an end-of-season interview with GPFans, Steiner said: "I think in the middle of the season they understood they don't need to be friends but they need to be respectful of each other.

"It took quite a while to explain that but I was working with two rookies together, so for me, it was something new and I needed to think how to do that best.

"I always sat with them down together with the chief race engineer because sometimes, I can go off a little bit on a tangent.

"What I found is that they didn't really understand that F1 is a team sport. When you want to get into F1 it's not a team sport. It's a 'me, me' sport.

"Once you're in F1, you need to be a team player. We have no agenda to help one more than the other.

"If there is an advantage to be given, he's getting it. As simple as this. Because they are equal status [for] everything, you always treat them with equal status."

Explaining how attitudes changed, Steiner added: "They are now more respectful of each other. Again, fingers crossed, it can happen any day that they get into each other again.

"But after the summer break, I saw a change in how they approached things. It wasn't 'Oh, why did he get that? Why did he..?' No.

"For sure, they want to beat their teammate. That, they have to do, otherwise, it wouldn't be good for the team if they don't want to be the fastest, but there is a limit to it."

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