Ralf Schumacher refuses to work as pundit with Guenther Steiner after ‘senseless rants’ | F1 | Sport

Ralf Schumacher has refused to work alongside Guenther Steiner during German broadcaster RTL’s race weekend programmes after a string of harsh comments from the former Haas team principal directed at his nephew, Mick Schumacher.

Steiner managed Schumacher for two years with the 24-year-old graduating into the North Carolina-based outfit as the reigning Formula Two champion in 2021. After spending a year struggling in the ill-fated VF-21, the German racer was well-beaten by Kevin Magnussen in his sophomore year before being let go by his team principal.

Since the pair parted ways at the end of 2022, Steiner has publicly criticised his former driver on multiple occasions. This did not go down with Ralf, who took to Instagram to voice his frustrations with the recently dismissed team principal.

“Our good friend Günther Steiner. I don’t understand these senseless rants. I’m starting to get the feeling that he wants to prevent [a return]. Because if Mick returns successfully, Steiner would have to go through the dust.”

This feud has serious consequences for RTL too. Explaining his position to F1 Insider, Schumacher said: “RTL knows my opinion, and so does Mr. Steiner. There will be no more joint performances in front of the camera. In Bahrain, I was able to put our dispute aside, but now that is no longer possible. I am consistent in that.”

Steiner’s latest comments about the son of legendary seven-time world champion Michael came amidst speculation linking the former Haas driver to the vacant seat at Alpine. Schumacher has impressed with the French outfit’s World Endurance Championship program and has been touted as an option to replace Esteban Ocon.

Asked on the Red Flags podcast whether he would sign Schumacher for Alpine if he was in charge, he said: “In the moment not, no. You need to get the best driver you know is out there. I think people which are showing that they’re very good. And as a works team, you need to do the best you can.”

If Schumacher is to complete his F1 return with Alpine then he will need to fend off interest from other drivers. Test and reserve driver Jack Doohan is a strong contender to replace Ocon at Enstone, while more experienced heads such as Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz are also options for Bruno Famin.

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