Mick Schumacher has been rewarded with a Ferrari reserve role in 2022 because of the improvement in speed he displayed with Haas last season.
Haas did not develop its 2021 car as it focused all of its resources on the new generation of Formula 1 car that will be introduced this year, but Schumacher in particular was regularly closer to the other team as the season progressed. Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says the improvement in pace the rookie showed played a part in his additional responsibilities for this coming year.
“He’s a Ferrari driver, we should not forget that,” Binotto said. “He has been part of our Ferrari Driver Academy. The reason we have the Ferrari Driver Academy is to identify the next Ferrari driver for the future. Being part of it, if you are doing well, no doubt you may have opportunities.
“He’s had already one season in F1, which is important. Mick did well through the season — he improved himself not only in terms of consistency, but also in terms of speed. If you look at the last races, he was a lot closer to the cars ahead, and Haas didn’t develop the car at all. The fact he was closer proved he had a good improvement on speed.”
While the performance improvement from Schumacher was one reason he was handed the extra role, Binotto says another is that he will have far more regular experience of the new cars than the team’s other reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi.
“He will be driving 2022 cars next year — they will be a lot different to the current one in terms of driving style. It will be important to have one driver who knows those cars being the reserve. I can count still on Antonio because he has proved to be a good driver, Antonio will have a full program of simulator, in terms of bringing him up to speed in terms of 2022 driving style.”