Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner has played down the significance of his criticism of Mick Schumacher in the latest series of the Netflix show Drive To Survive, saying that viewers shouldn't use the show to 'analyse [his] mental state'.
Footage from the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix showed Steiner being publicly critical of Schumacher after the German had damaged his car in a qualifying crash and was unable to start the race.
Steiner was also seen criticising Schumacher's slow pace during that year's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, in which the German finished 14th of 16 classified finishers.
Though Haas would drop Schumacher at the end of the 2022 season, Steiner insisted that his comments were made in the heat of the moment, and did not reflect the true nature of the relationship between himself and Schumacher.
"I didn't watch [Drive To Survive], but I made the comments, so I remember some of the details," Steiner told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"I think they haven't shown everything what I said, just the heat of the moment.
"Drive to Survive shows the worst [moments] that day, and obviously, that's what the show needs to do.
"Whatever was said, was said, I can't take it back, and it was decided not to take it out, because you have nothing to hide. It is what it is. I'm not ashamed of it.
"In the heat of the moment, as a racer, you say things that I wouldn't say now, for example. We shouldn't go too deep into it to analyse my mental state!"
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Steiner unconcerned by Netflix portrayal: I'm not an actor
Since first appearing on Drive To Survive, Steiner has gained a considerable following among fans of the series, with many entertained by his eccentric demeanour and liberal use of profanity.
Haas have sought to capitalise on Steiner's new-found popularity by selling official team merchandise bearing the Italian's likeness together with some of his more memorable quotations from the show.
However, Steiner reiterated that he was unconcerned about his portrayal on Drive To Survive, and insisted that his primary motivation was ensuring Haas' on-track success.
"As I said, I haven't seen it. I've got one team member who watches it," said Steiner.
"For me, it's difficult to have an opinion about myself. It's very difficult.
"Put yourself in my shoes, the best is they don't show anything, but is that good? No. So you don't get involved directly with your own performance, because I'm not an actor.
"It's not acting. I don't judge if I acted good or not. I did my job, and I judge my job on what we achieved in the race, not what I imagined looks good for us."
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