Ayao Komatsu, the chief race engineer at Haas, is certain: Kevin Magnussen helps Mick Schumacher with his development
Two times Mick Schumacher has finished in the points in the 2022 Formula 1 season and the form curve is pointing upwards despite a couple of accidents. Silverstone and Spielberg were certainly the highlights for the German and the successes are no coincidence. Ayao Komatsu, the chief race engineer at Haas, is certain that Kevin Magnussen has also played his part in this.
“When Kevin showed up for the test in Bahrain, he was a completely different person than he was two years ago,” says Komatsu. “He is open and also shares his information, so Mick has benefited a lot from having him as a benchmark. Mick was also always close to scoring points, but it wasn’t enough. So when he did it at Silverstone, it was a big step. He has improved a lot this year.”
According to the race engineer, Schumacher has managed to understand the car better and develop mentally, which is why he is now more settled as a racing driver. Silverstone in particular and scoring his first Formula 1 points was an important step for the 23-year-old, he said. “A lot of weight came off his shoulders then immediately came the good performance at Spielberg, so the confidence is there,” Komatsu said.
The Japanese also considers Schumacher “a hard worker” who would always sit down with his engineers to analyse mistakes and improve. Since his first top-10 finishes, the Haas driver would also handle mistakes much better and manage to improve steadily over the course of the practice days, which is why Komatsu trusts Schumacher to take further steps forward in the future.
Another reason why both Magnussen and Schumacher are pushing their limits in the 2022 season is the close performance level in the team. According to Komatsu, it is a disadvantage for a Formula One racing team if one driver is “three tenths behind” the other. “We need competition in the team and Mick has made great progress,” he explains. “It’s good for Mick to have a benchmark with Kevin. We want them to push each other to their limits. “