Mick Schumacher airlifted for precautionary scans after wicked hit; will miss F1 race

Mick Schumacher Saudi crash
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JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — Mick Schumacher has been held out of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after a wicked head-on crash with a concrete barrier during Formula One qualifying.

Schumacher wrecked Saturday with just over five minutes left in the second round after losing control of his car in Turn 9 and was airlifted to a hospital for further examination before returning to his hotel. Haas F1 ruled Schumacher out of the race Sunday and the American team said it would field just one car.

Schumacher, who turned 23 earlier this week, posted on social media that he was “OK.”

“The car felt great,” the German wrote. “We’ll come back stronger.”

The Haas F1 team and Sky Sports reported that the son of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher was conscious and alert before being extricated from the car to an ambulance. Sky Sports showed Mick Schumacher being airlifted to a nearby hospital for further examination, which Haas F1 team principal Guenther Steiner said was largely precautionary after Schumacher showed no external injuries in the crash.

The team later confirmed that Schumacher would miss Sunday’s race.

“He has no injuries which you can see,” Steiner told Sky Sports. “They’re just doing some scans to make sure there’s no further impact from the forces” in the wreck.

It marked the second major crash in a Middle East race in the past three seasons for Haas F1. In the December 2020 race at Bahrain, Romain Grosjean survived a fiery accident in what turned out to be the final race in his F1 career before moving to the NTT IndyCar Series.

That crash prompted a massive review by the FIA and F1, resulting in safety upgrades to the cars. Saturday’s vicious wreck virtually broke Schumacher’s car in half in a manner similar to Grosjean, whose tub splintered after going underneath an Armco barrier in Bahrain.

Steiner said it didn’t appear anything broke on the car for Schumacher, who had advanced to the second round of qualifying with teammate Kevin Magnussen.

“Our car is good, and maybe (Schumacher) just tried a little too hard,” Steiner said. “Here if you make an error, there’s no runoff. It’s walls. And that had him.

“It shows how safe the cars are. They increased chassis stiffness after the incident with Romain. You need to be lucky as well, but fortunately the most important thing is the driver is OK.”

Schumacher posted a selfie tweet a few hours after the crash, confirming he was OK and thanking fans for their support.

Track repairs resulted in the session being postponed by nearly an hour. Qualifying ended with Sergio Perez winning his first career F1 pole in his 215th start, beating the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr.

F1 has been heavily scrutinized for continuing its race weekend following an attack by rebels on a nearby oil depot. The attack during the first practice Friday could be heard at the track and smoke could be seen billowing in the background of the circuit.

Drivers met several times on Friday for more than four hours discussing safety concerns and whether or not they should compete. F1 and the FIA, the ruling body for the series, assured the competitors that safety measures were in place.

So the action went on as scheduled Saturday until Schumacher’s crash in the second segment of qualifying. Pole-sitter Perez of Red Bull said afterward that the Saudi Arabian circuit is “definitely the most dangerous place in the calendar. That’s no secret about it.

“It’s a circuit that really demands a lot from the drivers, from the cars, from the teams. If you get it wrong, it can be a huge accident,” Perez said. “The last thing I want to think is about the track, and I think going forwards it’s again a discussion.”

Sunday will mark the second time in three F1 races that Haas has been down to just one car. Nikita Mazepin missed the season finale last year when he tested positive for COVID-19 the morning of the race. Mazepin has been replaced this year by Kevin Magnussen, who will start 10th on Sunday.

Haas reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi is in Saudi Arabia but, just as was the case in Abu Dhabi last December when Mazepin was ruled out, he was not eligible to get in the car so late in the race weekend.