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Haas chief Guenther Steiner takes swipe at Mick Schumacher's uncle over "public fight"

Guenther Steiner has accused Ralf Schumacher of trying to drag Haas into "a public fight" after the former Formula 1 racer's constant criticism over the team's treatment of his nephew.

The six-time F1 race winner has been very vocal all season about the team, especially as they were weighing up their options for their driver lineup for 2023. Mick Schumacher was the young man who held the seat, but it was announced last week that he will be replace by Nico Hulkenberg next year.

Among other complaints, the 23-year-old's uncle accused Steiner of being overly critical of the young German after a spate of expensive crashes which knocked his confidence, and also suggested it was the team's lack of performance and strategy errors which were affecting his results.

Many of those allegations were made by Ralf during the course of his work as a race weekend pundit for Sky Germany. Asked for his thoughts on the former Williams and Toyota racer's barrage of criticism, Steiner told Sport Bild his view that Schumacher appeared keen on "causing a public fight".

And he made it clear he was not going to give him the satisfaction. "I'm not interested in that," said Steiner. "I do what I do and he can say whatever he wants – I'm not interested in answering that because I'm not a self-promoter. My decision was certainly not influenced by Ralf's behaviour."

One of Schumacher Snr's complaints after Haas announced their driver decision was that the team had taken too long to make it. Steiner admitted last week he had made Hulkenberg wait to test his desire to return to an F1 race seat after a lengthy absence, but dismissed any accusation that they purposely made young Schumacher sweat over his F1 future.

Steiner said he has no interest in getting into a public spat with Schumacher (Getty Images)

"We didn't play any game for three months that we knew what we were doing and didn't tell him," the team principal added. "We looked for a long time to see what was best for us and took our time. That wasn't delaying."

He went on to suggest Schumacher probably knew deep down that he was not going to get the outcome he wanted. Steiner asserted in his typically blunt style: "Of course he had suspected something – he doesn't live behind the moon."

While he will not have a race seat for next season, Schumacher looks set to land a reserve role with Mercedes. Team boss Toto Wolff said last weekend: "I think he deserves a place and now we have to see if we can do something... I'm saying it that openly because I think he just fits and now we need to make it happen, if he wants to."

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