Mick Schumacher was fighting hard for points at half-time in the American GP and was just ahead of his team-mate Kevin Magnussen after the safety car restart.
Unfortunately, the 23-year-old had to make a second stop, switched to the hard compound until the end of the race and did not finish in the points.
Schumacher has already been given an ultimatum by team owner Gene Haas and team boss Günther Steiner, who want him to pick up points in the final laps to secure a contract extension.
Many have called this criterion unreasonable given the gradual decline in the VF-22’s competitiveness over the year.
Mick Schumacher has certainly improved over the year and can now keep up relatively consistently with Kevin Magnussen in qualifying and race trim.
However, Magnussen’s points in America will hurt Schumacher’s chances for the team to continue as Nico Hulkenberg looks increasingly likely to join Haas in 2023.
Haas team owner Gene Haas told RTL that Schumacher’s strategy didn’t cost him any points in America:
“When Mick and Magnussen came in they both got the same tyres. When Mick came out again he was in a group of cars and stayed with them.
“Magnussen fell backwards to save his tires while Mick used them up.
“Mick then inevitably had to come in ten laps later and change the tyres, which threw him back.
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“Magnussen fed his tires and was able to do 37 laps on medium, which no one else did in the race.
“That’s how he managed to get a few points.”
In all honesty, there’s a lot of evidence that Hulkenberg would be a good addition to Haas and is arguably more complete as a driver than Kevin Magnussen.
So Hulkenberg would by no means be a bad signing for the team.
It is also undisputed that Mick Schumacher’s poor start to the season cost the team crucial points and money.
That being said, the target set for Schumacher (even with Magnussen’s most recent points) doesn’t seem consistent with the team’s current competitiveness.
Formula 1 is a ruthless sport, so it can’t be said that Schumacher is experiencing anything out of the ordinary.
Many drivers (e.g. Kobayashi, Heidfeld) have lost their seats in the past despite consistently strong performances.
Nevertheless, the relationship between Schumacher and Haas already seems fragmented.
Perhaps the best option for the American team is to make a decision next season rather than wait until the end of the year for an announcement.
After all, Schumacher has now ridden with Haas for almost two full seasons – the team certainly has enough data to decide on 2023.
Regardless, Schumacher still has three races to convince Haas he deserves a contract extension.