In the midst of the silly season, the star of today’s rumors is once again Mick Schumacher with what seems to be a new plan B
This year the silly season has started a bit later than in previous years. Rumors have been everywhere in the paddock in the last few weeks. One of the main protagonists of this week’s rumors is the one and only Mick Schumacher. Last year after parting ways with Haas, Schumacher expressed his will to come back to F1. He was then announced as Mercedes’ reserve driver for the 2023 season. However, this week he seems to be the center of new and unexpected rumors.
The bittersweet ending of 2022
The 2022 season was Mick Schumacher’s second season in F1. That year at the British Grand Prix he started nineteenth and finished eighth, scoring his maiden Formula 1 points. A week later at the Austrian Grand Prix he qualified seventh and finished sixth, his best Formula 1 result. Thus, he was promoted to fifteenth place in the Drivers Standings.
However, ahead of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in November 2022 the American team Haas announced that Mick Schumacher would not be part of their team in the 2023 season. In his place was announced Nico Hulkenberg to partner Kevin Magnussen. A month later the news that Schumacher would be Mercedes’ reserve driver in the 2023 season was made public. In addition, shortly before came the announcement from Ferrari that their collaboration with Mick Schumacher would end. Schumacher was in fact part of the Ferrari Driver Academy since 2019. On the matter, Schumacher said:
“I am thrilled to be a part of the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 team and will strive to do my very best to contribute to their performance, I take this as a new beginning, and I am grateful to Toto Wolff and everyone involved for putting their trust in me. F1 is such a fascinating world, and you never stop learning, so I look forward to absorbing as much knowledge as I can and putting all my efforts into benefiting the Mercedes team.”
Despite Schumacher’s early departure from Formula 1, everyone was curious to see how this new beginning could work out for the German driver. Nevertheless, seeing a driver with enormous potential like him being left behind left a bittersweet feeling in his supporters’ mouths.
Being a Mercedes reserve driver and the endless rumors
Since the start of the season, everyone has been waiting for the moment that Mick Schumacher would come back in a single-seater. As Mercedes reserve driver he’s obviously doing a lot of simulator work that’s been helping the team a lot. His help has in fact been crucial for the development of the car to the team this season. However, there’s a bit of melancholy in seeing him everywhere but behind a visor and ready to race.
Nevertheless, in the past few days, Schumacher has been at the center of new and interesting rumors. We know that he’s likely out of contention for a seat in 2024. This doesn’t stop him from having options in other categories. Also, whether he’s deserving of an F1 seat he’s a capable racing driver who clearly deserves more time. Furthermore, other categories like WEC, IndyCar, and Formula E would value a driver of his caliber. Also, it’s not uncommon for drivers out of F1 to be successful in other categories, Antonio Giovinazzi and Stoffel Vandoorne are clear examples.
According to the latest rumors Mick Schumacher is in line to drive for Alpine in their 2024 LMDh program for WEC – the World Endurance Championship. Thus, we could see Schumacher driving in the iconic 24 hours of Le Mans next season. Right now a contract with Alpine can only be seen as positive, as this could give him the opportunity to continue to do what he loves, racing. Regardless if Schumacher’s move is confirmed, this will add to the excitement and popularity of Endurance racing in 2024.
What does Toto Wolff say
Since Mick Schumacher joined Mercedes, CEO and team principal Toto Wolff has been one of his biggest supporters. “He deserves a seat on the grid”, this is what Wolff will say if you ask him about Schumacher. And he’s totally right. Schumacher’s journey in F1 was prematurely terminated and seeing him having another possibility, even outside F1, would be amazing. Toto Wolff also was never one to hold back from singing the praises of the German driver.
“He deserves to be on the grid. In Haas, he never felt comfortable with the single-seater. He had so much pressure on himself and could not show his talent. He is a very fast driver, he won in F3 and F2 and that means he has so much potential but he never had the chance to show it. I am glad to have him as a third driver. In case one of Russell or Hamilton is unwell, I know I can count on Mick. His contribution to the simulator makes us make huge leaps forward from Friday to Saturday because he spends all night figuring out what to improve.”
Mick Schumacher’s chances of getting a seat on the grid next year look pretty slim but Wolff is not one to lose hope about it. Who knows, Schumacher could even have a chance in Williams as Logan Sargeant has yet to be confirmed in the driver’s lineup for the team next year. What is certain is that anyone having Mick Schumacher as a driver would be very lucky. So, could this be a new beginning for Mick Schumacher?