Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has said that his young German test driver Mick Schumacher should be on the Formula 1 grid in 2024.
Schumacher is the son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, and his impressive performances in F2 – where he won the world championship in 2020 – saw him gain a seat in F1 with the Haas team in 2021.
From there, the German driver managed to race in the sport for two full seasons, failing to score big points in a car struggling with performance, but putting in some decent drives nonetheless.
At the end of 2022, after finishing 13 points behind vastly more experienced team-mate Kevin Magnussen, Haas boss Guenther Steiner decided not to renew Schumacher's contract in a move that was perceived as somewhat of harsh decision.
Without a seat for 2023, Mercedes picked him up as their reserve driver, where he has spent the season at his father's former team, learning from seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.
Now, Wolff believes he is ready to be back on the grid with another team.
"He deserves to be on the grid,” he told AutoHebdo.
"When you don't feel confident in a car for a long time, you put more pressure on yourself and perform less well. I think that's what happened at Haas.
"He is fast. If you win F3 and F2, it means you have great potential, and he has never been able to show it. I'm happy that we have a third driver who I know will do the job if one of the starters were to withdraw."
Options running out for Schumacher?
Almost every team have their driver lineup sorted for 2024, with three exceptions: Alfa Romeo, Williams and AlphaTauri.
AlphaTauri are seemingly out of the running for Schumacher, with them having had four drivers in their cars in 2023, and needing to pick two from a group that includes eight-time grand prix winner Daniel Ricciardo and impressive young drivers in Yuki Tsunoda and Liam Lawson.
Alfa Romeo have links to Schumacher's old team Ferrari, somewhere he spent time at as a test driver back in 2020.
Wolff's relationship with Williams team principal James Vowles is good as the pair worked together at Mercedes for many years, so he may talk the Silver Arrows' former senior race strategy engineer into giving Schumacher an opportunity in a car that is rapidly improving.
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