Formula One: Drive to Survive season 5 was released on Netflix on the 24th of February 2023 and it features action from the paddock in the 2022 season. It focuses on the paddock and shows fans the politics around the sport when it is not about high speeds and more about planning and strategy.
This season features highlights of the previous season such as the proposing issues, Sebastian Vettel‘s retirement, and Fernando Alonso‘s transfer to Aston Martin. One episode that has been the epicenter of drama has to be episode 4 titled ‘Like Father, Like Son’ based on Mick Schumacher and his underperformance at Haas even though his teammate, Kevin Magnussen was performing better than the team’s expectations.
In the episode, the Haas Team principal, Guenther Steiner was seen saying “He f**** destroys the car just because the other one is faster.” while referring to Mick Schumacher. His harsh comments in the episode have stirred up quite a commotion online and fans have started taking sides to defend either Mick or Guenther.
Guenther Steiner’s comments on Mick Schumacher
The episode ‘Like Father, Like Son?’ revolved around Mick and the Haas team where Steiner expresses frankly how he feels about the young German driver, who crashes frequently and lacks the speed of his more seasoned teammate Kevin Magnussen. However, fans were upset about what the chief had to say about Mick.
Steiner erupted into a rant where he said “Between half a million and a million I would say. F****** hell. Give him a year to learn and what does he do in the second race? He f****** destroys the car just because the other one is faster.” at a specific point where Mick crashes the car, splitting the livery into two that cost the team a fortune in repairs.
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At the opening of the episode, Guenther Steiner seemed satisfied having young Schumacher on board and describes him as “hard-working, focused and diligent.” The team principal went on to say “I think he wants to be successful, as his father was, and I think he can achieve that’’ until things changed post the regretful incident. The focus of the episode was Schumacher’s crash at Jeddah during the qualifying round of the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix.
However, this was not a one-off occurrence; throughout the season, there was growing hostility between Schumacher and the team. Mick was ultimately dropped ahead of the 2023 season, and veteran driver Nico Hulkenberg was signed in to replace him.
Guenther Steiner’s response to the backlash
The Haas chief defended himself when Drive to Survive fans criticized him for how he handled Mick Schumacher and the crash situation. Steiner, who has served as Haas’ principal since the team’s entry into Formula One in 2016, denies having seen the episode of the fly on the wall which he is the major subject of.
In conversation with Motorsport.com, Guenther Steiner acknowledges making the remarks “in the heat of the moment,” but he doesn’t regret them. He said “I think they haven’t showed everything what I said…. Whatever was said, was said, I cannot take that one back. I’m not ashamed of it.”
Way ahead of the 2023 season, the Mercedes team announced that Mick Schumacher was joining them as a reserve driver “I take this as a new start… I look forward to absorbing more knowledge and putting in all my efforts for the benefit of the Mercedes team” said the German regarding his move to Mercedes. The future seems bright for Mick and fans are hoping to see more from him.