Schumacher badly damaged his VF-22 car in a massive accident during qualifying for this weekend’s event in Jeddah.
The German escaped without injury though and, following precautionary checks at a nearby hospital on Saturday night, he was discharged and able to return to his hotel.
With Schumacher declared fit, Haas could have elected to prepare a new car for him and get him out to start from the pitlane for the Saudi GP.
But Steiner took the decision not to do that, because he felt that that was too little to gain from the effort – with a bigger potential for further downsides.
With little realistic hope of points, plus a high risk of further damage, Steiner feared that another incident could wreck better opportunities when Schumacher returns fully fit for the Australian GP in two weeks.
“You could work all night and then [on race morning] find out you’ve compromised yourself so much because you did everything in a hurry,” said Steiner about his decision to withdraw the car.
“Then you end up with not all the spare parts in Australia, and then you have a little thing [happen] in Australia, and then you cannot race when you in theory should be in a better position. It doesn’t make sense to me. It’s just like trying too hard to call it.”
Debris from the crash of Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-22, on track
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
Another factor in Steiner’s decision not to try to get Schumacher out was that the freight for the Australian Grand Prix was going straight from Saudi Arabia, which meant there was no opportunity to check things back at the factory before the next race.
“You have to ship everything from here to Melbourne,” he said. “We cannot ship it to the UK now to do all the stuff on the car like you need, to crack check and all those other good things.
“It would be just not a good job for knowing that you cannot end up in the points if you start from the pitlane this year, as there’s too many good teams out there.”
With it being so early in the season with the new cars, teams normally have not built up a massive stockpile of spare parts. Steiner said that was a factor as it didn’t want to risk depleting its spares unnecessarily.
“If we don’t race [in Saudi] we’ll be okay, 100% okay for Melbourne,” he said. “It’s still difficult always to keep up, but we are glad to go to Melbourne with enough bits.”