Guenther Steiner says that the relationship between Haas drivers Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin has improved after the pair were involved in some clashes on track last season.
With the team opting not to develop their 2021 car in order to focus on the upcoming regulation changes for the 2022 campaign, Schumacher and Mazepin often found themselves at the back of the field and only able to battle with one another.
This resulted in some incidents between the two rookies, including a near-collision on the last lap of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in June, followed by another run-in at the following race in France, after which Schumacher accused Mazepin of not thinking of the team.
Despite this, Steiner feels that things improved as the year went on, and that Schumacher and Mazepin now have more "respect" for one another.
"I think the situation last year got a lot better," Steiner said in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com.
"I remember after [one] race, when we sat down, I said, 'Guys, I cannot always tell you what to do, like other staff. You need to find your own space, both of you, not to [be] damaging either of you, because it isn't good for either of you, nor for the team'.
"So I think they had this talk, and I could see that there was really good improvement. Going forward, would I put my hand in the fire that they will not run in [to each other] again? But I think there is a lot more respect."
Schumacher and Mazepin "damage themselves" by colliding
Steiner believes that there was also a turning point in the drivers realising that nobody benefits if they collide with each other.
"I think they realise that what they damage most is themselves if they run into each other, because there is no winner," the Team Principal explained.
"What do you win when you run into your teammate? There is no gain of it, you just damage the team and yourself. So I think they came to the conclusion that is being young."
This is not a completely new situation for Haas, with Steiner able to see similarities to when Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean raced for the squad and had some run-ins.
"I think we had a similar problem a few years ago with with Kevin and Romain," Steiner added.
"I just said, 'Guys, I can tell you what I want but, in the end, you do need to be grown-up [enough] to know what to do and what not to do to, for your own sake.
"'Not for my sake, because at some stage, it's like, this is getting old, and then there will be some changes, guys. I'm not going to look at that forever.'"
Schumacher and Mazepin will both go into their second season in F1 with Haas in 2022, a year in which Steiner is hopeful that the team can return to the midfield.
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