Updated: Feb 28
Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto has confirmed the Scuderia is in talks with its American customer outfit Haas on retaining Ferrari Academy graduate Mick Schumacher for the 2022 season.
Written by Andrew Lwanga, edited by Janvi Unni
Haas signed rookies Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, and while Haas team boss Gunther Steiner has all but confirmed that they will likely keep their driver pairing, he conceded there’s areas that still need ironing out.
“At the moment it looks like we will be racing with the same driver pairing next year,” he said. “We still have to clarify a few details, but everything else is clear. It won’t take long.”
Schumacher’s performances, though somewhat mixed, have been largely positive. The German managed a Q2 appearance at the French Grand Prix although that result was somewhat marred by a crash. Schumacher has also managed a best race result of P12 at the Hungarian Grand Prix, a performance highlighted by several battles he had with Verstappen, Gasly and Ricciardo. Staining those performances were two heavy and expensive crashes in free practice sessions that drew frustration from Steiner.
Mattia sympathized with Steiner but further stated that this was part of Schumacher’s learning curve.
Binotto told Gazzetta dello Sport: “This year has been more difficult for the Ferrari Driver Academy, but you have to give the kids time to grow.
“Mick Schumacher’s first season serves as learning, without pressure, and we are discussing with Haas to confirm him there.”
Speaking about the other Ferrari Junior on the grid, Binotto said that he hopes Antonio Giovanazzi can remain with Alfa Romeo Racing. This comes on the back of recent reports claiming that Alfa Romeo are set to have free reign on their driver line up.
“Giovinazzi remains our reserve driver, the first alternative to the regular drivers,” he said.“He is showing growth every year and I hope he can stay at Alfa, he deserves it.”
As for the drivers directly under his stewardship, Binotto stated that he believes his team has the best pairing on the grid.
Sainz and Leclerc have managed three podiums between them and 163 points to keep them level with McLaren despite a clear pace advantage for the latter.
“I am convinced that with Leclerc and Sainz we have the best duo in F1,” said Binotto. “They are talented, fast and young, a guarantee for the future.
“We know Charles, he grew up in our academy, we have no doubts about his abilities. Without the accidents in qualifying in Monte Carlo and at the start of Hungary, in which he was also unlucky, he would have an extra victory and second place.
“He is growing in the vision of racing and in tyre management. He has great potential.
“Carlos didn’t surprise me. Before taking him, we analysed his characteristics: he is concrete, he brings points to the team and he is clear in communicating with the engineers. He is integrating and understanding the machine better and better.
“In the second half of the season I expect him to put together a perfect weekend, without errors in qualifying, at the start or in the race.”