Schumacher’s openness ‘helpful to everyone’, says Haas F1 chief engineer

Mick Schumacher’s open and constructive approach to trying different things is proving “helpful to everyone” at Haas through his rookie Formula 1 season, according to chief race engineer Ayao Komatsu.

Schumacher’s openness ‘helpful to everyone’, says Haas F1 chief engineer

2020 F2 champion Schumacher graduated to F1 this year with Haas, and has so far led its efforts at the rear of the field, beating teammate Nikita Mazepin in all but two races both drivers have finished.

Schumacher has regularly been heard exchanging feedback with race engineer Gary Gannon on team radio, and has also welcomed advice from four-time F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Komatsu highlighted Schumacher’s openness and willingness to try out different ideas or approaches, taking the team’s feedback on board even if he is personally unsure about it.

“It was clear to all of us from the beginning that he is very, very open to all the ideas,” Komatsu said. “So if we tell him, 'OK, let's try this, why don't we go into this direction?', even when he doesn't agree with that, he's happy to try it.

"Whether it's a car setup, or just the management, the driving style, for one lap, for race distance, he will always try it.

“Then that will give us a very good data. Whether it works or not work, either way, he did it, so that we got the data and feedback.

“All that openness and the willingness to try everything, and then be able to be constructive when the situation, like, I think it was Baku, where we had a car problem. His session was so discontinuous. Of course, I'm sure he was frustrated and angry in the car.

“But even then [he stayed] very calm, constructive, gave us amazing feedback. So when you work like that, it's helpful to everyone.

Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-21

Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-21

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

“He made a big step in all areas, but [in] tyre management, I think he's made a pretty big step in last few races.”

Mazepin has been open about his own difficulties with the Haas VF-21 car through his own rookie season, struggling with a slightly heavier chassis than Schumacher and a difficult aero package that has left him feeling “quite lost” on set-up.

Komatsu said that the drivers needed “quite different” things from the Haas car, and that it took the team time to fully understand their varying styles.

“Nikita likes much more stability, especially into high-speed corners, and Mick can deal with it,” Komatsu said.

“But then sometimes to look after the tyres in the race, we need to almost put more focus on having a car that is easy on tyres. So their requirement is actually quite different. It took some time for us to understand that.

“I think we are getting there in that sense. But one thing is to get the performance out for one lap, another thing is for the 300 kilometres on Sunday [with] tyre management.

“Mick is actually doing very well. He took a pretty good step recently. Nikita is getting there as well. He was a bit behind initially. Part of it is for us as well to understand how different, let's say, a characteristic Nikita needs for him to be comfortable.

“We are still working on that. But then he's improving as well. We’re just working continuously on that.”

shares
comments

Related video

Red Bull: New evidence will put Silverstone F1 crash in ‘slightly different light’

Previous article

Red Bull: New evidence will put Silverstone F1 crash in ‘slightly different light’

Next article

Ocon: "Fighting spirit" Alpine's big strength in F1 battle for fifth

Ocon: "Fighting spirit" Alpine's big strength in F1 battle for fifth
Load comments
Hamilton at 100 wins: In his adversaries’ words Plus

Hamilton at 100 wins: In his adversaries’ words

Some 18 drivers have finished runner-up to Lewis Hamilton on his way to 100 wins. Three of those recall their battles with Formula 1’s centurion and give their personal insights into the seven-time world champion on his rise to unchartered territory

Russian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Russian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 Russian GP was decided by late-arriving rain that allowed some to climb and caused others to plummet. But the events which played out beforehand are equally significant when considering the all-important driver ratings

How Mercedes made the “blind faith” call that won Hamilton his 100 milestone at Sochi Plus

How Mercedes made the “blind faith” call that won Hamilton his 100 milestone at Sochi

Until rain turned the Russian Grand Prix on its head in the closing stages, Lando Norris was set to convert his first Formula 1 pole position into a maiden win. But having recovered well from being shuffled back at the start, Hamilton and his Mercedes team called the changing conditions spot-on for a landmark 100th F1 victory

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces Plus

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2021
The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Plus

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2021
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021
The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021