F1

Toto Wolff digs at Guenther Steiner’s ‘mountain’ upbringing

Mick Schumacher drives his father’s Ferrari F2003-GA

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Toto Wolff has slammed Guenther Steiner’s “mountain” lifestyle as a major reason behind Mick Schumacher’s departure from the team. The Mercedes team boss said the thinner air meant “you can’t always think well” in an apparent swipe at Steiner’s decision to part ways with the young German star.

Wolff said: “That’s his management style. He comes from the mountain, the air is thinner there. You can’t always think so well.” Schumacher has been under pressure at Haas all season but the former F2 champion was finally dropped days before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

However, Steiner has come under fire for his criticism of Schumacher’s performances this season despite consistently beating Kevin Magnussen. In particular, The Haas team principal has not been supportive of Schumacher’s three accidents which have cost the team millions of pounds in repairs.

Steiner labelled his latest accident at the Japanese Grand Prix as “disappointing and frustrating”.

He even claimed Schumacher may not have saved his seat even if he had secured pole in Brazil instead of team-mate Magnussen. Ex-F1 star Nico Hulkenberg will return to full-time racing as Schumacher’s replacement at Haas for 2023.

But, Wolff has appeared to disagree with the decision as he praised Schumacher’s ability. The 23-year-old is now tipped to secure a reserve role with the Silver Arrows to replace Nyck de Vries who will race for AlphaTauri next season.

The Mercedes team boss claimed a testing role could even provide Schumacher with an opportunity to mount a race return.

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Wolff told Sky Germany: “The Schumacher family is closely linked to Mercedes. David drives for Mercedes. Ralf drove for Mercedes and also Michael. And Mick is German. He fits well with the star. I think he deserves a place in Formula One. We have to see if we can do something, but his priority is to be on the grid.

“We have seen it before with drivers who took a gap year. There are also testing opportunities and you work together with engineers. It is a completely different kind of effort than what he is used to. You then form a different view of things and you build up a lot of experience.”

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