Ecclestone slams Steiner for Schumacher demise
"Mick is better than his reputation"
F1’s former chief executive has slammed Gunther Steiner for hurting the career of Mick Schumacher.
Schumacher, the 25-year-old son of Formula 1 legend Michael, spent two years at Steiner-led Haas before he was ousted for performance reasons at the end of last season.
Franz Tost, who knows the Schumacher family and especially Mick’s uncle Ralf, proposed to Red Bull that he be snapped up to race for Alpha Tauri this year.
But Tost, who will depart as long-time Alpha Tauri boss at the end of the year, says the move was vetoed.
"It was decided at the highest level not to take him," the Austrian told Sport1. "One reason was that he was still a member of the Ferrari junior squad at the time."
Schumacher was signed by Mercedes to be official reserve driver in 2023, and according to Dr Helmut Marko a potential late move by Red Bull to sign Mick as a replacement for struggling rookie Nyck de Vries was also thwarted.
Marko says the Schumacher issue was "mentioned at a meeting" with new Red Bull CEO Oliver Mintzlaff.
"It’s just stupid that Mr Wolff at the same time openly made played politics against us with the FIA again. With that, the topic was off the table," said the 80-year-old.
"Why should we take Schumacher? He is a Mercedes driver so Mr Wolff is responsible for him now.
"If he thinks so highly of him, why not let him drive in his own team or use his influence to get him into a customer team like Williams?" Marko added.
For Tost, the fact that young Schumacher is on the sidelines is a shame.
"Mick is better than his reputation," he said. "He has won the two most important junior classes, which alone entitles him to drive in Formula 1.
"I always point out that in today’s complex Formula 1 without testing, even the greatest talents need at least three years to reach their potential."
"I can only hope for him that he can come back as a regular driver," Tost, 67, added. "Because I’m convinced he has what it takes to be a very good Formula 1 driver.
"And that has nothing to do with the magic of his name."
As far as former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is concerned, however, only one man should carry the bulk of the blame for Schumacher’s current situation.
"An unsuccessful team boss ensured that Mick’s career in Formula 1 is over for the time being," the 92-year-old said, clearly referring to Steiner and his highly critical comments about Schumacher prior to his ousting.
"What should you think of the statements of a man who only became a superstar in the paddock thanks to rude comments in a Hollywood documentary aimed at the US market?" Ecclestone added.
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