Haas team boss Guenther Steiner says Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin are not involved in a “retaliation” rapport de force following their recent on-track spats.
The Haas rookies have found themselves at odds with each in the last three races, with Schumacher executing a forceful maneuver against his teammate in Monaco and Mazepin nearly clashing with the German in Baku and at Paul Ricard last weekend.
The Russian’s aggressive overtake in France led Schumacher to say that he might need to get his elbows out against Mazepin.
But Steiner said the incident was nothing more than a case of hard racing, adding that he had no intention of stepping in to tell his drivers to “drive behind each other”.
“I’m not worried. I didn’t see the situation in France as dramatic as you guys try to make it out,” the Italian told the media in Austria.
“We looked into it, and I spoke with Mick about that, and he said, yeah, it was hard racing, it wasn’t unfair.
“But obviously it’s also a difficult position as they are normally side by side because we are at the back end of the grid. So who are they going to fight? Each other obviously, because there’s nobody else around.
“We would wish to fight with Lewis Hamilton at the front, but we cannot, so in the end they try to do their best.
“There is a risk that they run into each other. It’s a difficult spot where we are, and this is part of it, and I obviously try to manage as best as possible.
“But I’m not going to say to them ‘oh, just line up how we lined up in qualifying and drive behind each other’, because then they don’t learn anything.”
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Read also: Haas drivers’ French GP spat just ‘hard racing’ – Steiner
Steiner doesn’t believe that the relationship between his drivers has descended into a tit for tat out on the track.
“We spoke really clearly about retaliation and I think there is no retaliation involved,” he said. “As I said before, it is where we are.
“The only one you can fight – I mean, if you are last – is your teammate, because all the other cars are away, so obviously we end up always side by side.
“We can try to beat this thing up but it is what it is. I don’t think there’s any other agenda behind it, you know. Then it’s like they find each other side by side, and they’ve got the same car. So obviously, they will try to do their best.
“But they both forgot what happened in Monte Carlo anyway. They are race car drivers.”
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