Nico Hulkenberg says he has "never had a real relationship" with Mick Schumacher and feels no need to show any remorse for replacing his fellow German at Haas.
Guenther Steiner spent several months mulling over his options as Schumacher came to the end of his contract. In the end, he decided a more experienced option was required and handed Hulkenberg his first Formula 1 race seat since 2019.
It leaves Schumacher without a race seat of his own for the 2023 season. He has signed with Mercedes as a reserve, but his F1 future is up in the air and there is no guarantee he will be able to get back onto the grid any time soon.
Not that Hulkenberg will lose any sleep over it. The fact they are both German racers is about all the two have in common – they do not know each other very well and the former Renault driver doesn't feel like he has to have any concern for Schumacher's future.
"We haven't spoken to each other since," he told German news site RTL. "We never really exchanged ideas before. Mick is also a different generation. We never had a real relationship, something like he has with Sebastian Vettel.
"The story is now what it is. If it hadn't been me, maybe it would have been someone else. F1 is about performance. If you convince and perform, you have a job, you are a hot stock. If there is no performance, then it's over very quickly."
While Hulkenberg's experience is obvious, there was some surprise when Haas chose him to join them for the 2023 season. Although he has taken part in a handful of races over the past few years as a stand-in, the 35-year-old has not raced on a regular basis for a long time.
With that in mind, he has been put through his paces to make sure he will be up for the challenge. He added: "The preparations are going well. It feels good to go back in. The volume and intensity in training have increased again, so the last few years have been more relaxed. It feels good to get up in the morning, feel the body.
"If you don't drive F1 for months, then again [there is] strain. These G-forces, which have a great effect on the body when driving, are very special. You can train like a world champion, the first time in a car like this, everyone suffers. Despite all the euphoria and joy, you have to remain realistic. You're dependent on the car."