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Berger identifies key to Schumacher's upturn in performance

Ex-F1 driver Gerhard Berger has pinpointed the factor which he believes has been key to Mick Schumacher's improved performances.

Gerhard Berger has given his verdict on why Mick Schumacher's performances have improved in recent Grands Prix. There were recently question marks over Schumacher's future in the sport after a string of poor race weekends. The 23-year-old had been mostly outpaced by Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen in the first half of the season, and crashed out of qualifying in Saudi Arabia and Monaco. But Schumacher's form improved in recent events; he scored his first points at the British Grand Prix, before following up with more in Austria. Speaking in the F1 Nation podcast, 10-time Grand Prix winner Berger was asked if the famous Schumacher surname was a help or a hinderance, before the Austrian provided his own thoughts on the reason behind Schumacher's improvement in form. "I think it has at least as many advantages as disadvantages, so it's balanced out at the end of the day. I think until you arrive in a place where Mick is now [in F1] it's an advantage," said Berger. "Now he just needs to deliver, and I think it looks like he needs all this pressure to be capable of delivering what he has to deliver. "When this pressure starts with [Haas team boss] Guenther Steiner and so on, and all these discussions start, then suddenly it clicked with Mick. He did two bloody good races."

Berger: Schumacher must start beating Magnussen

With Schumacher competing in his second season in F1, and with an improved Haas car, the expectation to increase performances has heightened. Teammate Magnussen was drafted in at short notice at the start of the season to replace Nikita Mazepin, who was generally outpaced by Schumacher last year. Magnussen offers an established benchmark with which to compare Schumacher, and the Dane started the season stronger, outscoring his younger teammate by 22 points to 12. Despite Schumacher's form improving over the last few races, Berger commented that the 23-year-old will need to keep finishing ahead of Magnussen in order to validate his place on the grid. "It was clear from the beginning that he needs to be faster than Magnussen," added Berger. "If you are a young driver and coming up and you want to be one of the new stars, you need to beat your teammate and, [at the Austrian GP], I said, 'Well, maybe he's capable of doing it'."

RESULTS 2024 F1 pre-season testing - Day 2