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Steiner: Schumacher and Mazepin tensions ‘blown out of proportion’

Haas Formula 1 boss Gunther Steiner thinks tensions between Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin aren’t as bad as everyone thinks, despite the fall-out from their last-lap incident in Baku.

Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-21, Nikita Mazepin, Haas VF-21

Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-21, Nikita Mazepin, Haas VF-21

Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Schumacher was left furious with Mazepin after the Russian aggressively chopped across the front of him as they ran to the chequered flag at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

After the race, Steiner had talks with both of them to draw a line under the matter and try to ensure that there would not be repeat trouble further down the road.

Ahead of the French Grand Prix, Steiner said he hoped the clear the air talks were enough, but he also suggested the falling out had been made out to be much bigger than it was.

Reacting to repeated questions from the media about the situation, Steiner said: “If it affects the future, I don't know. I don't have a crystal ball.

“But I think we are blowing this out of proportion here. Or you're trying to blow it out a little bit of proportions. I don't think it was as bad as y'all think it was.

“This is normal and it happens because, in the moment, our guys, they fight between each other. If it would have happened not to a team-mate, it would not have created this much of a story, I would say.

“But in the moment where we are, they fight against each other because our car is just too slow to fight against other people.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1, on the pit wall

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1, on the pit wall

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Steiner felt that much of the responsibility for dealing with how they battled each other from now on was down to the drivers, as he could not control what they did in the cars.

“When they are out there, how should I keep them on a tight leash?” he said.

“I think both of them are young and they've got an ego, you know, and they want to be seen to be strong.

“But I will not be driving the car. I think we agreed on something. And that is we just keep on going and hopefully it doesn't happen again.

“Can I give you a 100% assurance that it doesn't happen again? No way, they are race car drivers. They're competitive people and there will be incidents again, and we will deal with them again.

“Otherwise, it's getting boring anyway, but I hope they learned the lesson out of this.”

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Steiner reckoned that a bit of rivalry between his drivers was not such a bad thing either, as it at least gave them something to fight for.

“At least they've got some target,” he said. “Otherwise, if they had nothing, if they just go in circles, that is not stimulating, or doesn't get the best out of them.

“Obviously, I need to explain to them also that – if it goes wrong – it's not constructive. It didn't go wrong luckily.”

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