Haas will field an unchanged driver line-up for the 2022 Formula 1 season after confirming it has retained Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.
The American-owned outfit made a bold choice to run two rookie drivers for this year after parting ways with experienced incumbents Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen at the end of 2020.
The pair have endured a tough rookie campaign, with Haas shelving car development early to prioritise its focus on the all-new regulations arriving next year.
This decision has left Haas fighting at the rear of the field for much of the season, and has resulted in it being the only team yet to score points.
Aside from its lack of competitiveness, the team has had the unenviable task of having to deal with several on-track run-ins between its drivers, most notably at the Dutch Grand Prix.
Team principal Gunther Steiner recognised it had been a difficult year for both debutants, but is confident it can given them a more competitive car next year.
“We knew we wanted continuity behind the wheel in 2022,” said Steiner. “2021 has afforded both drivers the opportunity to learn Formula 1 – and as rookies – they’ve done a lot of that this year.
“It’s been a tough season for sure with the package we’ve had, but at the same time they’ve both embraced the challenge and worked closely with the team to learn our processes and adapt to the rigors of a Formula 1 campaign and all that brings – both internally and externally.
“Now as we look ahead to the 2022 season, we’re confident we can move forward as a team and give Mick and Nikita a competitive race package to make the next step in their Formula 1 careers.”
Schumacher made the step up to F1 as the reigning Formula 2 champion, bringing the famous surname back to the sport nine years after his seven-time world champion father, Michael, last raced.
The German has generally been the quicker of the two drivers, out-qualifying Mazepin 12-2 so far this year, and is determined to help push the team further up the grid in 2022.
“By being part of the Formula 1 field, I am living my dream,” Schumacher said. “The first year together with Haas F1 is very exciting and instructive, and I’m sure I can bring all the experience I’ve gained into the coming year.
“New technical regulations, the impressive ambition of the entire Haas F1 team and the support of Ferrari – of course I believe this will bring us closer to the field in the 2022 season and we will be able to fight for points. I’m looking forward to being part of a team that is getting stronger, and I’ll do everything I can from my side to move us forward.”
Mazepin, who against Schumacher in F2 last year finishing fifth in the drivers’ standings, added: “I’m very excited for next year, the new car and simply just to get the opportunity with Haas F1 Team and grow together with them. I think we will come out strong next year.”