Toto Wolff gives hope to Mick Schumacher over potential F1 grid return

Mick Schumacher signs Mercedes reserve driver contract. December 2022 Credit: Alamy
Mick Schumacher signs Mercedes reserve driver contract. December 2022 Credit: Alamy

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff thinks Mick Schumacher has the potential to follow in Nyck de Vries’ footsteps in his quest to return to the F1 grid.

Schumacher was aiming to head into a third year driving for the Haas team after first making his F1 debut in 2021, but the powers-that-be at the American outfit decided to cut him in loose, favouring a more experienced line-up with Nico Hulkenberg joining forces with Kevin Magnussen.

With a lack of available options to try and retain his place on the F1 grid, Schumacher has been forced to settle into a reserve driver role for the F1 2023 campaign. However, the fact he has landed at Mercedes will have gone an awful long to cushioning the blow.

Mercedes had an opening in the reserve driver slot after Nyck de Vries’ services were acquired by the Red Bull team, placing the Dutchman in the sister outfit of AlphaTauri alongside Yuki Tsunoda for the 2023 season.

De Vries put himself firmly on the F1 radar following a superb debut performance at the Italian Grand Prix, scoring points after being thrown in the deep end as a last-minute stand-in for Alex Albon who was struck down with appendicitis.

And Wolff thinks that by being with Mercedes, Schumacher can look to emulate the driver he has ultimately replaced in the reserve ranks.

“I think if you give him a safe environment to develop, he can become a good racer in a permanent seat,” Wolff said in a recent media call, as quoted by Sport Bild in Germany.

“Just as we let Nyck de Vries go to make a career for himself, the same could happen with Mick. Whether it’s with our team or somewhere else. We don’t know yet.

“The most important factor is his personality. He is a well-mannered, intelligent and talented young man. If you look at his junior career, he was very good.”

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But, before Schumacher can potentially dream again about continuing his F1 career in one of the 20 precious spots on the grid, he has an important role to play at Mercedes supporting Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

It’s a job Wolff thinks he is capable of excelling at, especially given the fact he has first-hand knowledge of driving this current generation of F1 cars.

“He will contribute a lot by driving the new car for a year,” Wolff added.

“He’s already been in Formula 1 for two years, knows the tyres and the difficulties of the current generation cars. He will be super helpful in the simulator and also in judging the car.

“It will help us to have him at the track in the debriefing room, for example. He is an incredible young driver. That’s why we definitely have a gain with Mick in our team.”

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