SUZUKA, Japan — Haas has switched Mick Schumacher to a spare chassis for the Japanese Grand Prix after he crashed at the end of the opening practice session at Suzuka.
Schumacher was returning to the pits following a practice start on the grid when he lost the rear of his Haas and aquaplaned into the barriers at the Dunlop curve.
The impact damaged the front of the car and raised concerns about the chassis, forcing Schumacher to sit out of the second session as Haas prepared the spare.
The chassis, which Schumacher said was fixable, will now be sent back to Haas’ supplier Dallara to undergo tests before it is returned to the pool of usable cars.
Schumacher, who is driving at Suzuka for the first time this weekend, said his visibility was hampered by spray from a car in front and he didn’t spot the puddle that caused his car to aquaplane.
“Obviously you are trying to figure out the track itself and it’s my first time here, so I was trying to see where the puddles are because that’s something that is very different in every place you go to, and here the water seems to accumulate quite a bit in certain areas and it is a matter of understanding that,” Schumacher said.
“We had a car ahead that threw up a lot of spray, hence I didn’t see where to put the car and on top of that we were in a mode which we tried to learn as much as we can from to be able to have all the right settings for the race then.”
He added: “Had it happened two metres later I would have had a 360 spin and kept going. Things happen for a reason, and I don’t know what the reason behind that is now, but in ten years’ time I will. Maybe I don’t need to wait for ten years!”
The accident comes at an unfortunate time for Schumacher, whose position at Haas is under threat next year from Nico Hulkenberg. But the son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher said it didn’t change his approach to the remaining races.
“Pressure is something I have been dealing with for quite some time and I would say even all my life, so I don’t mind that,” he said. “I want to do my best, so it doesn’t matter what happened before and we take one thing at a time and that is now FP3 tomorrow and qualifying.”