On Thursday morning, Haas finally announced that Nico Hulkenberg would be replacing Schumacher for next season.
Team boss Guenther Steiner cited Hulkenberg’s wealth of “experience” in F1 as one of the key factors behind Haas’ decision to favour the former Force India and Renault driver.
This has put Schumacher on the sidelines for next year, however, it is understood that he will remain in F1 as a reserve driver, potentially for Mercedes.
Vettel – who has been a good friend of Schumacher’s throughout his short time in F1 – alluded to the environment at Haas contributing to Schumacher’s lack of performances with the team.
“Obviously it’s bitter for him and I am sorry for him,” Vettel told Sky Germany. “I believe the team leadership at Haas is sometimes… yeah… I don’t want to say but sometimes it is difficult to understand.
“I think Mick absolutely deserves a seat. The season was certainly not easy for him, here and there, maybe he did a mistake but I think the team was also not blameless or innocent, at least from the outside. Now I think he is concentrating on the new task, the next steps that will come, I believe and hope he gets a chance because he has the potential.
“The environment is extremely important for every driver. Even if some drivers make it seem like it doesn’t matter, the driver who doesn’t care doesn’t exist and never has. As far as that is concerned, Haas could certainly have done better. Now it is like this. I think Mick learned a lot and will learn from the situation and hopefully come back stronger very soon.”
Haas’ decision to drop Schumacher came as no surprise given the reports leading up to the eventual announcement.
Not only were Haas unconvinced by his level of performance, they were “fed up” of Schumacher’s “entourage”.
This is backed up by the war of words between Steiner and Mick’s uncle, Ralf Schumacher, who has been increasingly vocal in the media in recent months.