Haas keen to limit Schumacher distractions, expect Leclerc-style progression

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Haas is hoping to keep Mick Schumacher focused on racing during his rookie Formula 1 season.

Fresh from winning the Formula 2 championship last year, the son of Michael Schumacher has already completed a Friday practice session and tested for the American team as he prepares to follow his father onto the grid in 2021.

Given his surname, Mick's arrival in F1 comes with the highest expectation and greatest attention of any new driver in recent time.

And Haas chief Guenther Steiner is well aware of the likely distractions that will be coming Schumacher's way.

“I think we just need to manage his efforts, where they are best applied," he was quoted by MotorsportWeek. "His focus needs to be, especially in the beginning, on racing and not on doing public things, as that will define his future.

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“It will be a difficult task because everybody will want a piece of him but he is used to that, I would say, and the people surrounding him are used to that so they will help us, but for sure we have got our work cut out.”

As for what Haas expect from Schumacher on the track, Steiner predicts a parallel with Charles Leclerc's first year with Sauber in 2018.

“In the first races he wasn’t faster than his teammate (Marcus Ericsson) but then he learned extremely quickly, that’s what I especially expect from Mick," he claimed.

“I am convinced that in the second half of the season we will have two drivers who know exactly how to do it.

“By 2022 they should be in a position to prove what they are capable of. Our job is to train them and build them a car with which they can show their skills, in order to then take their fate into their own hands.”

Joining Schumacher at Haas is controversial fellow F2 graduate Nikita Mazepin, and the Russian recently spoke on the type of relationship the pair may have.

"We are not friends. At most, we are old acquaintances as we raced together in karts," Mazepin told Match TV.

"I honestly don't care about his name but because of it he will have more power, but also more pressure.

"But when I lower the visor, I don't think about these things anyway."

As for Mick himself, he played down the attention and the pressure as simply par for his course.

“I guess it’s something that has always been with me and I got used to it, I didn’t really have to specifically work on it,” he said.

“One thing that is important is having a family that is open and true to me. If you have friends that tell you how it is and have facts, you will stay grounded and you’ll be able to see things in a different perspective than if you were trying to do this alone.

“I’ve had the luck [and am] lucky to have such a great bunch of people around me.”