Rookie Drivers seen as a ‘Big Risk’ in Modern Era of Formula 1 – Guenther Steiner

Guenther Steiner says the lack of testing ahead of drivers debut in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship makes it difficult to gamble on bringing in a rookie driver, particularly with how Mick Schumacher struggled when making the step up from FIA Formula 2.

Schumacher himself admitted it was difficult to adapt to Formula 1 with so little time behind the wheel of a car ahead of his debut, and after two seasons in the sport, he will be replaced at the Haas F1 Team by Nico Hülkenberg, a veteran of one hundred and eighty-one race starts, in 2023.

And Steiner, the Team Principal at Haas, agrees with his former driver about the lack of track time affecting a rookie, and it means teams will look into bringing in experience rather than giving a rookie driver an opportunity.

“I think he’s right,” Steiner is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “In racing, two years is a pretty good time, but there’s nothing before.  He jumped straight from F2 to F1 in competition, because there is no testing.

“We reverted back to get an experienced driver that wasn’t in a car for three years, not full-time, because the young drivers, you cannot really evaluate or you take big risks.”

Steiner says the McLaren F1 Team have taken a little bit of a gamble to bring in Australian Oscar Piastri to make his Grand Prix debut in 2023, and his track record in junior formulae is no guarantee that he will be quick in Formula 1.

“I mean McLaren takes on Piastri, but in the end, nobody knows how good he will be in an F1 car,” Steiner said.  “He was very good in F3 and F2, but it’s still a big step to F1.

“Obviously I think it is a little bit, I wouldn’t say a problem, but it’s one of those things, how much risk do you want to take to get a rookie in the car.”

Despite reverting to an all-experienced line-up in 2023 with Hülkenberg and Kevin Magnussen, Steiner says they have no regrets about starting the 2021 season with a pair of rookies in Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, feeling that they are in a much better position now than they were two seasons ago.

“No, no. Absolutely not,” insisted Steiner. “And I’ll explain why, because two years ago we were in a different position, and now we are in a different position again.

“I think we’re in a lot better position now in Formula 1 in general than two years ago when we had to find solutions to keep on going.”