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Schumacher shows muscle after summer break and gets closer to Magnussen

Schumacher shows muscle after summer break and gets closer to Magnussen

14-10-2022 06:55 Last update: 09:23


Mick Schumacher is still unsure of his seat at Haas in 2022. The German is still getting time from his team, but has he shown enough after the summer break to convince the team? GPblog dives into the statistics.

Magnussen returns to F1

Five Grands Prix have been run since the summer break and unlike the rest of the season, Schumacher finally seems to be keeping up with his teammate a bit more here. Since the arrival of Kevin Magnussen, the pressure has been full on Schumacher and that seemed to be costing him his position in F1. However, a turnaround now seems visible.

Over the whole season, the qualifying duel stands 13-5 in the Dane's favour with an average difference of 0.252s. A nice gap, especially when you consider that at the start of the winter test, Magnussen did not even know he would drive Formula 1 this year. In the races, though, it is closer together over a full year. There, it is 6-6 in the race standings, but Magnussen does have more points: 22 to 12.

Those points mainly come from the early stages of the season when the VF-22 was still very competitive. That is no longer the case in October. Indeed, the last points date back to the Austrian Grand Prix in July. As a result, Magnussen has significantly more points than his teammate, as Kevin was especially strong at the beginning of the season.

Is Schumacher showing progress?

Schumacher was given some race time to prove that he deserves the seat at the American racing stable in 2023 and seems to be responding. Since the summer break, there have been five race weekends and things are much closer together. Of the four dry qualifying sessions, both drivers won two, Magnussen was the best in the rain qualifying session in Singapore. In the rain, Schumacher does not appear to have the talent of his father anyway.

So in the qualifying duel, it is 3-2 since the summer break, but the fact that rain qualifying does not count towards the average difference (as run time and track conditions play too big a role in a rain qualifying and the differences are much bigger in the rain which can distort the picture over a whole season) means that Schumacher has an average lead of 0.117s over the four qualifying sessions. This is mainly because he had a big gap (0.578s) to Magnussen at Zandvoort and lost very little ground himself in Italy and Belgium. Even if we were to include the Singapore difference (0.364s), Schumacher has been faster on average since the summer break.

So a clear improvement if you compare that to the situation over the whole season. To that you can add that the picture on Sunday has not changed much. The post-summer race duel wins Magnussen 3-2, but it has to be said that Schumacher drove ahead of his teammate in Japan before his team decided to keep him out for a long time in the rain, hoping for a safety car. Points were not scored by either man due to the much less competitive car.

Haas has no alternative

In points, then, we do not see Schumacher's performance, but he has indeed crept closer to Magnussen over the year. Mick is still only 23, so he still has a lot to learn. This was evident during the first free practice in Japan, where he wrote his car off in the wall (not for the first time). This will have cost him.

The good performance and lack of a really better alternative may save Schumacher. Haas has its eye on Nico Hulkenberg, but is he much better than what Schumacher is currently showing and suppose The Hulk is faster, what does Haas gain by that? Besides, it remains to be seen how well Hulkenberg and Magnussen would function together in one team, as they were not exactly the best of friends.

Also, Antonio Giovinazzi and Robert Shwartman are not the drivers who, on the face of it, are going to make such a difference at Haas that it justifies the switch in the line-up. Schumacher has shown growth, still makes some mistakes, but he is also still young and inexperienced. Haas needs to be patient, there doesn't seem to be a better alternative anyway.

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