Haas Trackside Engineering Director Ayao Komatsu has praised the effect Kevin Magnussen has had on Mick Schumacher. The Dane was drafted back into the Haas team at the start of the season as a late replacement for Russian driver Nikita Mazepin. He made a big impact in his first races back; he scored 14 points in his first four races and began to heap pressure on Schumacher. Schumacher - in his second full season in F1 - eventually started scoring points after pressure from the Haas hierarchy, achieving a best finish of P6 at the Austrian GP. Speaking during the Japanese GP weekend, Komatsu was asked how much of a positive effect Magnussen has had on Schumacher. "Quite a lot. When Kevin came back in the car in testing, he was a different person to two years ago," said Komatsu. "He's so open and cherishing that challenge, and he's very open to sharing information as well. So, Mick benefitted quite a lot on having that reference."
Komatsu: Schumacher has improved in 2022
Despite the upturn in form from Schumacher, question marks remain over his future in the sport. Magnussen is confirmed to be racing for Haas in 2023, but the second Haas seat remains up for grabs. Komatsu added that Haas have seen the improvements in Schumacher across 2022, but it remains to be seen what decision the team will take for 2023. "He was always, always close to scoring points, but he couldn't get there," commented Komatsu. "Then once he got that [points result at] Silverstone, that was huge step. He's improved a lot this year."