Mick Schumacher Q&A: Spanish Grand PrixMay 16, 2022
Haas F1 Team returns to Europe for Round 6 of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship – the Spanish Grand Prix. This will be the second time the VF-22 has run around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya after pre-season testing in February. Do you think that puts you at an advantage for this weekend, already knowing the traits of the car around this track?
“If it puts us at an advantage, I wouldn’t think so, at least not more compared to the other teams and drivers – it will be the same for everybody at the end. We will maybe have to learn the track less but anyway we don’t need to learn the track as we’ve driven there so much in the past that it’s like printed in my brain in a way. The track conditions will be very different, the temperature is probably 20 degrees different to when we tested there, so the entire way the tire works will shift as well. I think that the advantage is maybe there minimally, not because we’ve tested there but because we know the track so well.”
With a mixture of high and low-speed corners, there’s a reason why this circuit is used for testing. After five races, would you say you fully understand the car now and are able to manage its strengths and weaknesses?
“I don’t think we understand the car 100 percent yet – I think nobody does – because we are still trying to figure out reasons why the car behaves as it does and try to understand them. We also have updates that come in and those can make it difficult to understand it further because you keep on developing. If the car stayed the same, then you’d perhaps know it a bit better after five races just because it’s the same, but we’re constantly changing to try and make it faster. The track has a lot of great characteristics in how the tire usually degrades and how the car behaves so I’m looking forward to it and I’m quite excited.”
Your best finish at the Spanish Grand Prix came in the 2020 FIA Formula 2 Championship when you achieved third place. Coming back to circuits where you have much more experience, does it give you confidence that you can extract the full potential from the VF-22?
“Hopefully, but it’s the same for most drivers – they’ve all driven a lot on that track. In the past the track hasn’t always been super good to me, but things can change and hopefully they do for the better.”
Barcelona is usually the time of the year when teams start to bring substantial upgrades to packages, do you expect the grid to stay in the same order as the first five races or do you think this is where we’ll see changes in the pecking order, and where does Haas F1 Team fit into that?
“I’m sure we’ve already seen quite a few changes, teams are still very close together and that’s what we want to see, that’s what this whole change was about in the end. I think we’ve managed to get there and hopefully by the end of the season the spread isn’t going to be bigger but actually smaller, and teams still fight heavily between each other and that the midfield pack catches up to the top two teams, which are Ferrari and Red Bull at the moment, that the gap gets smaller and we’re able to fight with them. The pace that we had at the end of the race in Imola definitely showed that we were close to them on one lap pace, but race pace is so different when comparing the midfield and top teams, it will be interesting but exciting times ahead.”