Guenther Steiner, Haas’ team principal, admitted last year that the pandemic put the team in a difficult financial situation, but that did not influence in the decision of signing Schumacher to the American team. There was another great reason to sign the German driver to the team and promote him to make is debut in Formula 1.
To complete the team, Schumacher is joined by Nikita Mazepin as the team’s lineup for the 2021 F1 season. Both drivers have links to different sources of income for the team. For example: Mazepin’s father runs Uralkali, Haas’ new title sponsor.
As shown in the Netflix Formula 1 documentary “Drive to Survive”, Haas was in between negotiations with a new sponsor: the German internet services firm 1&1. The company was seen in the series as being keen to position their brand alongside the German driver.
But Steiner said that Schumacher was chosen for his ability to drive and not because of the income he attracts. He declared: “The 1&1 sponsorship is a Haas team sponsorship, it’s not a Mick sponsorship, just to clarify that”.
“There is no direct connection between 1&1 and Mick. Obviously 1&1 embraces Mick being at Haas, but this was a parallel development, not a combined development.”
As a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, Schumacher ended up winning the Formula 2 championship in the 2020 season, which eased his path to Haas, one of the Scuderia’s customer teams.
“For sure it helped us with 1&1 and 1&1 is very happy about having Mick at Haas. But that, it was more like a decision from Ferrari where to send the drivers and we asked if we can have him because he won Formula 2. But it is not a direct negotiation going on between the company and Mick," Steiner explained.