Mick Schumacher says he is ready to make his Formula 1 debut early if the team needs a replacement for Romain Grosjean again at next week’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Grosjean will be replaced by Pietro Fittipaldi at this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix as he continues to recover from the burns he sustained in his fiery crash on Sunday.
Schumacher was announced today as one of Haas’s new drivers for the 2021 F1 season, alongside Nikita Mazepin. Both are in contention for the Formula 2 title in this weekend’s season finale, but the pair will be available to race in Abu Dhabi next week if needed.
Asked whether he felt prepared enough to take over Grosjean’s car, Schumacher said: “It’s great if you are considered to be ready to do that, I feel like I am.
“Obviously you have three free practices which you have time to learn [in]. It would be a challenge but definitely I think I would be able to get to know the car more to be even better prepared for next year.”
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said he will not decide between Schumacher, Mazepin, Fittipaldi or any driver other unless he needs a replacement for Grosjean.
“In the moment the status is I want to see where Romain is on Monday,” he said. “That’s what I agreed with him. I don’t even entertain any replacement or anything.
“We have got enough drivers on standby that can drive so I’m not worried about it and we just take that decision [if] we know 100% that Romain cannot drive.”
Steiner said he hopes Grosjean will be able to take part in his final race for the team.
“If he can finish his time with Haas in a race, that’s what I would like, not just watching it. That is our aim.
“That is what we spoke with him. I said I fully support that you want to go out on a high and he said if I can do it that is what I want to do. Therefore I am quite regimental on that one. We are not deciding anything before we know that he can definitely not drive.”
The team confirmed Grosjean has been released from the Bahrain Defence Force hospital today, where he has spent three nights since the crash on Sunday. “Grosjean will continue private treatment for the burns suffered on the back of his hands and will remain in Bahrain for the time being,” said Haas in a statement.
“On behalf of Romain Grosjean and the entire Haas F1 team we extend our thanks to all who have tended to him at the BDF Hospital.”
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2020 F1 season
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