Formula 1: Can Mick Schumacher extract the pace of the Haas?

Mick Schumacher, Haas, Formula 1 (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)
Mick Schumacher, Haas, Formula 1 (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images) /

Coming up well short of teammate Kevin Magnussen’s fifth place finish to open the 2022 Formula 1 season, how can Mick Schumacher bounce back to show his true pace at the infamous Jeddah Corniche Circuit?

The opening to the new era of Formula 1 did not go to plan for Mick Schumacher despite an impressive race by Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen.

In post-race interviews as well as radio messages following the finish at Bahrain International Circuit, Schumacher and his side of the garage were both under the clear understanding that they had been tormented by setup issues throughout the first race weekend of the 2022 season.

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Combined with a first lap tap from Esteban Ocon, Schumacher was unable to put a full race together, as his starting tires had been compromised, forcing him to commit to a subpar strategy for the remainder of the race.

Meanwhile, Magnussen scored a fifth place finish, showing himself to be the best driver outside out the “big three” of Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes despite his abrupt return to the sport.

After Magnussen demonstrated a clear capability of pace in the VF-22, the pressure is placed squarely on Schumacher to live up to his lofty expectations.

One potential concern regarding Schumacher for the 2022 season will be how much of the experience from his rookie season can be applied.

In a unique scenario of an uncompetitive car that possessed characteristics unrepresentative of a Formula 1 car, Schumacher learned little about how to fight in the midfield and nuance strategic elements such as marginal tire management and track positioning.

Schumacher could once again be entering a “rookie” season of learning, and if history is to be believed from his time in the junior ranks, it will take time for the German to get up to pace.

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At least he is set to enter this coming race weekend at Jeddah Corniche Circuit with an advantage over his teammate in track experience. But in the inaugural race there last season, he crashed on his own to kickstart the crescendo of safety cars.