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Why Haas say Schumacher's Austria attitude 'wasn't great'

Haas Chief Race Engineer Ayao Komatsu has criticised Mick Schumacher's attitude during the Austrian Grand Prix weekend, even as the German went on to finish P6 in Sunday's race.

Despite scoring his best ever F1 finish with sixth place in the Austrian Grand Prix, Mick Schumacher’s attitude 'wasn’t great' during the previous day's Sprint event at Spielberg. That's the view of Haas' Chief Race Engineer Ayao Komatsu, who says the German was dissatisfied with how the team had handled their strategy. During Saturday's Sprint event, Schumacher was behind teammate Kevin Magnussen and requested to be let through. But no team orders were forthcoming, with Schumacher staying behind Magnussen as he defended against Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton. With Hamilton eventually making his way past, Schumacher ended the Sprint in ninth while Magnussen took seventh, prompting the German to take issue with how events had been allowed to unfold. "Mick was behind Kevin and that frustrated him," Komatsu told German outlet Motorsport-Total . "His focus in the Sprint race wasn't the right one. We talked about that afterwards. We talked before the Sprint race about how we would do it as a team. But what he did after that wasn't great, and what he said after that wasn't great either."

Schumacher 'focusing too much' on Magnussen

Komatsu added that Schumacher had a tendency to focus too much on his teammate at the expense of concentrating on his own race, adding that the German sometimes needed a proverbial arm round the shoulder. "Sometimes Mick focuses too much on his team-mate," said Komatsu. "Then I say to him 'look, Kevin really likes to help you and he tells you things he would never have told [former Haas driver] Romain [Grosjean] before'. "Then Mick thinks and realises the most important thing for the team is to get up in the Constructors’ Championship. "I explain it to him: 'Mick, come on, you're doing well, focus on your own performance and not on this thing'. And then it's fine again."

Schumacher benefitting from Magnussen experience

Schumacher's debut F1 season in 2021 saw the German partner fellow rookie Nikita Mazepin, but the Russian was dropped on the eve of the 2022 season after his country's invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent sanctioning of Russian entities and individuals – including Mazepin himself and his father Dmitry. In Mazepin's stead came Magnussen, who had previously driven for Haas from 2017 to 2020 in addition to previous stints with McLaren and Renault, and Komatsu said Schumacher was benefiting from having a more experienced teammate to learn from. "It's very good for Mick to have an established team-mate like Kevin," said Komatsu. "We didn't know beforehand how good he was. Then Kevin came along and that gave us a reference. We think that with our 2021 car we would have been safe against Williams – we could have fought if we'd had Kevin back then. Mick would have benefited from that in his development."

Schumacher facing uncertain F1 future

After an error-strewn start to 2022 that included hefty crashes in Jeddah and Monaco, Schumacher's form picked up in subsequent races. The German scored his first ever championship points with eighth place at the British Grand Prix, before following that up with sixth in Austria, when he battled for several laps with Hamilton in Sunday's main race. However, those two Grands Prix remain the only occasions on which Schumacher has scored points in 2022, and with both his Haas and Ferrari Driver Academy contracts both expiring at the end of the year, the German's future in F1 remains uncertain.

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