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Steiner: Haas not in F1 to make up the numbers

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Günther Steiner has said that Gene Haas has not entered Formula 1 to simply make up the numbers, asserting that being at the back of the grid in its debut season would not be acceptable.

NASCAR team co-owner Haas has established his own F1 team, which will make its debut at next March’s Australian Grand Prix.

The Haas F1 Team car will first head out on track in pre-season testing in Barcelona with drivers Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez set to race during the season.

Given the difficulties faced by the latest trio of new teams in F1 – Manor, Caterham and HRT who all debuted in 2010, and the latter two are now extinct – there is an air of skepticism surrounding Haas’ entry.

However, the team is coming into the sport with greater backing and a racing history, prompting Steiner to be adamant that it is not joining the grid just to make up the numbers at the back.

“We are not here to be last,” Steiner told USA Today. “It sounds almost arrogant.

“I don’t want to be arrogant, but we will not [be] happy being last. Just participating is not what Gene or the team wants to do.”

Haas F1 Team will be the first American outfit to race in the sport since the unrelated Haas/Lola project back in 1986, and is enjoying a technical partnership with Ferrari ahead of its debut that was recently subject to an investigation by the FIA over aero testing regulations.

Michael Schumacher’s son to make F1 practice debut at Nurburgring

F1 Mick Schumacher
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MARANELLO, Italy — Mick Schumacher, son of the legednary seven-time champion, will have an official Formula One drive during an F1 race weekend for the first time next week at the Nurburgring, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari said Tuesday.

Schumacher gets the practice drive in an Alfa Romeo on Oct. 9 on his home track in Germany as a member of Ferrari’s young driver program, taking over Antonio Giovinazzi’s car for the first session of the weekend.

“I am overjoyed to get this chance in free practice,” Schumacher said in a statement. “I’m going to prepare myself well, so that I can do the best possible job for the team and gain some valuable data for the weekend.”

The 21-year-old Schumacher leads the Formula 2 standings after winning races in Monza and Sochi. He won the European Formula 3 championship in 2018 and tested a Ferrari F1 car in Bahrain in April 2019. He also has done demonstration runs in his father’s old cars, most recently this month ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix in a championship-winning 2004 Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher holds the F1 record with 91 victories, which Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of tying.

Ferrari said two other drivers in its academy program will also get practice drives in Formula One.

Callum Ilott, a British driver who is second to Mick Schumacher in F2, will drive an F1 Haas at the Nurburgring on the same day as Schumacher. Russian driver Robert Shwartzman will drive in practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec. 11, though Ferrari hasn’t said for which team.

The German round was added to the F1 schedule after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season and will be officially known as the Eifel Grand Prix after a nearby mountain range. The Nurburgring last hosted F1 in 2013.