Haas’ chief race engineer Ayao Komatsu is appreciative of Mick Schumacher’s supportive approach as it helps the entire team learn.
Haas has been struggling through this season as the VF-21 is nowhere near the pace of their rivals. Consequently, the team requires drivers to constantly experiment with different approaches for the car. Each approach that is tested helps the team collect data that will help with improving their VF-21.
This methodology of data collection would be gruesome for any driver, especially for a rookie in a car that races at the back of the grid. Komatsu, however, has shared that Schumacher’s accommodating attitude is proving helpful for the team.
“It was clear to all of us from the beginning that he is very, very open to all the ideas.
“So, if we tell him, ‘OK, let’s try this, why don’t we go into this direction?’, even when he doesn’t agree with that, he’s happy to try it. Whether it’s a car setup, or just the management, the driving style, for one lap, for race distance, he will always try it.”
He contrasted Schumacher to his teammate, Nikita Mazepin, who got off to a rough start to the season. He explained that Mazepin has struggled in finding the balance he needs from the car and subsequently, is not as comfortable with the setup as his teammate.
“Nikita likes much more stability, especially into high-speed corners, and Mick can deal with it.
“Mick is actually doing very well. He took a pretty good step recently. Nikita is getting there as well. He was a bit behind initially. Part of it is for us as well to understand how different, let’s say, a characteristic Nikita needs for him to be comfortable.
“We are still working on that. But then he’s improving as well. We’re just working continuously on that.
“But then sometimes to look after the tyres in the race, we need to almost put more focus on having a car that is easy on tyres. So their requirement is actually quite different. It took some time for us to understand that.
“I think we are getting there in that sense. But one thing is to get the performance out for one lap, another thing is for the 300 kilometres on Sunday [with] tyre management.”
Once again, Komatsu stressed the importance of Schumacher’s flexible approach.
“All that openness and the willingness to try everything, and then be able to be constructive when the situation, like, I think it was Baku, where we had a car problem. His session was so discontinuous. Of course, I’m sure he was frustrated and angry in the car.
But even then [he stayed] very calm, constructive, gave us amazing feedback. So when you work like that, it’s helpful to everyone.”