Mick Schumacher’s contract with Ferrari’s Driver Academy will end at the end of this season, according to reports.
It is said that the Haas driver, and son of 7-times World Champion Michael, will not be retained by the American outfit for next year, with Ferrari Reserve Driver and current Formula E competitor Antonio Giovinazzi becoming a contender to land the seat along with Daniel Ricciardo.
Speculation around these reports hints that Schumacher’s exit from Ferrari’s academy is in order to help the German find another seat for next season, opening-up options with teams not affiliated with the Scuderia.
Schumacher made his F1 debut last year with Haas off the back of winning the F2 Championship in 2020, but the uncompetitive car left him at the back of the grid for much of the season. He was able to gain the upper hand within the team, outperforming team-mate Nikita Mazepin in the majority of the races.
2022 has given Schumacher a more experienced team-mate in ex-Haas man Kevin Magnussen, who returned from a year in endurance racing to replace the fired Mazepin days before the season-opener. The Dane found form straightaway, finishing 5th in round one, and has often out-drove Schumacher. Mick struggled early on with the new regulations, crashing heavily twice in Saudi Arabia, and then Monaco, leaving the team with a hefty bill for repairs. Since then, Schumacher has improved significantly, scoring his first points at the British Grand Prix after a stellar drive, followed by more points in Austria.
Despite matching Magnussen lately, it seems that Haas are keen on a new direction, and Schumacher is now left to find a seat for 2023, with teams looking to confirm their rosters soon.
2-time World Champion, Fernando Alonso is leaving to join Aston Martin for 2023. The French outfit announced Reserve Driver and 2021 F2 Champ Oscar Piastri as his replacement, but the Australian quickly refuted this, saying he would not drive for the team. A move to McLaren to replace fellow Aussie, Ricciardo, being his apparent wish. This dispute is now in the hands of the Contract Recognition Board of the FIA, with a decision due to be made soon. Alpine’s other driver, Esteban Ocon, is close friends with Schumacher and has publicly stated his wish for him to partner with the Frenchman next season.
Alpine are reportedly looking elsewhere even if the FIA rule in their favor, leaving Piastri in the cold for 2023. If this is the case, and Alpine chooses not to hire Schumacher, then the vacancy left by McLaren could be an option, however, competition for a seat with the British team is strong, with IndyCar drivers Pato O’Ward and Colton Herta (who tested for McLaren in July) potentially vying for the seat should Piastri be blocked from signing. Schumacher’s close friend, Sebastian Vettel, has been quoted that McLaren “maybe” an option.
Williams have retained Alex Albon on a long-term basis, but speculation is mounting on who will partner the Thai driver next year. Nicholas Latifi is in contention, due to the funds he brings to the team, but his poor form this year leaves him vulnerable to challenges from last year’s Formula E Champion, Nyck de Vries, and American F2 driver Logan Sargeant, who is part of their Driver Academy. Neither driver, however, possess any race experience in F1, which could give Schumacher an edge. He would be the second Schumacher to race for the team after his uncle, Ralf, drove for Williams from 1999-2004. With both McLaren and Williams powered by Mercedes, a drive for either team could give Schumacher an inroad to a possible link-up with the Silver Arrows in the future.
Alpine may look to Pierre Gasly for an all-French line-up, leaving a vacancy with the Red Bull junior team alongside Yuki Tsunoda. It has been reported that Herta has been contacted, but Red Bull’s supremo, Helmut Marko, is said to be a fan of Schumacher. A move here may give Schumacher a long-term opportunity to be promoted within the ranks to Red Bull Racing in the future. There will of course be a queue of Red Bull Academy drivers from F2 in contention as well.