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Is Haas right to axe Schumacher for Hulkenberg?

Is Haas right to axe Schumacher for Hulkenberg?

Is Haas right to axe Schumacher for Hulkenberg?

Is Haas right to axe Schumacher for Hulkenberg?
GPFans Staff

Mick Schumacher will be replaced by Nico Hulkenberg for 2023 but has Haas made the right decision?

Haas elected to focus on youth in 2021 with a rookie partnership of Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin after four years of stability with Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean.

But after returning to the midfield and challenging for points on a regular basis, the team has elected to place both cars in the hands of vastly experienced drivers.

Although the logic is entirely understandable, the question must be asked, however, has Haas made the right call in favouring Hulkenberg over Schumacher?

Editor-in-chief - Ian Parkes

Without a shadow of a doubt, Haas has made the right call. It had to act in the best interests of the team.

Schumacher has been given two years to prove himself, and unfortunately for him, it just has not worked out.

Admittedly, he was thrown in at the deep end last year as Haas opted for an all-rookie line-up in the German and Nikita Mazepin. This was a big mistake.

Both drivers had to learn as fast as possible, and as we are focusing on Schumacher, in particular here, that was brutal as he did not have an experienced team-mate to assist, such as Zhou Guanyu with Valtteri Bottas at Alfa Romeo, for example.

The fact Schumacher and Mazepin did not get on only added to the pressure in that first year, spilling over into the second as Kevin Magnussen.

Unfortunately for Schumacher, Magnussen hit the ground running and the longer the former's scoreless streak continued - allied to costly crashes - the more that pressure ramped up, which was relieved to a degree with points in the British and Austrian GPs.

But since then, Schumacher has continued to struggle, even as he has learned along the way and shown a greater understanding of the car.

Haas gave him as long as possible to prove himself. He hasn't, so over to the highly experienced Hulkenberg, who carries question marks given he has not had a full-time drive for three years but who, you feel, will not take long to quickly get back into the swing of things.

Deputy editor - Sam Hall

My initial reaction was likely the most popular of thoughts in, no, the team has got this one very wrong.

Schumacher is a driver still learning and mistakes must be accepted, but Hulkenberg has been out of a full-time seat for three years and this is too long, especially given he will be 35 years old on his return.

However, the more I consider the matter, the more I lean towards Haas being correct.

Schumacher has matured across the season but there have still been some incredibly costly crashes - Saudi Arabia, Monaco and FP1 in Japan are prime examples.

With Hulkenberg, this repair bill will be expected to shrink from likely one of the highest on the grid to a negligible figure.

For Schumacher, a year out will give him the opportunity to regroup, think and come back stronger, and with his countryman only on a one-year deal, a return to Haas in 2024 cannot be ruled out.

As a short-term solution, this could be a solid decision for all parties.

F1 writer - Ewan Gale

It is quite clear the crashes for Schumacher have been the German's downfall in terms of securing an extension into next season.

But what the results haven't shown is the improvement made by the former F2 champion throughout the season.

A lack of development has left Haas falling backwards rather than moving forwards, and without the headline results that were secured earlier in the season, Schumacher's tendency to match or even outperform team-mate Magnussen has gone under the radar.

The problem I have with the decision is I believe it shows a lack of ambition from Haas.

You have a young driver who has shown clear improvement, albeit still with some rough edges to smooth out, or an ageing competitor that, with all the will in the world, has already had his chance and failed to capitalise.

Hulkenberg, let's not forget, has had a history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in F1. He has never secured a podium for all the incredible positions he has been in. That, to me, leaves major question marks.

Does Haas know what it is doing, does the team have a direction?

In 2021, the team recruited two rookies and halted development to focus on the future. Now we will see a partnership with a combined age of 65 take to the track next season. Something doesn't quite add up for me.

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