Since Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement on Thursday at the 2022 F1 Hungarian GP, speculation is running wild over who will succeed him. Sky’s David Croft asked 5 drivers atet press conference whether they would be interest but Alex Albon, Daniel Ricciardo, Valterri Bottas, Esteban Ocon and Kevin Magnussen all made it clear they were happy where they were.
Aston Martin had attempted to persuade Vettel to stay for one more year given a number of their preferred driver choices are tied into contracts until the end of 2023. This has led a number of pundits to speculate it will be Mick Schumacher who joins the Silverstone based team.
Sebastian Vettel now reveals who he would recommend team boss Lawrence Stroll selects. Speaking to The Race in Hungary the German confirmed, “Well, obviously, I spoke to Lawrence and told him that I’m not going to continue.”
“We did have a very, very brief chat about what [who] might be next.
“I do have my opinion.
“I think very highly of Mick. I’m not entirely objective because I’m very close to him. But I do think he’s a great driver and is a learner.”
Schumacher began his senior racing career in 2017 racing in Formula 3. He had a steady year finishing P12 in the championship. In 2018 due to a strong 2nd half of the season Schumacher claimed the F1 drivers’ title.
Mick then stepped up to F2 and had an ordinary year finishing again P12 in the title race. Following his F2 form Schumacher then settled in in 2020 to win the F2 championship.
Some drivers immediately adapt to a new Formula but Schumacher appears to be one who takes time to settle in. He finished P19 scoring no points in his F1 rookie season, but after 34 races in the sport he scored his first points at the British GP. He followed it up next time out finishing two places higher and had interesting battles with both Hamilton and Verstappen for position.
Aston Martin despite launching a B car in Spain are having a poor season. They are second bottom in the constructors race only ahead of the Williams F1 team with just 19 points.
Haas by contrast are P7 with 34 points of which Mick has delivered around 1/3rd.
Schumacher has been part of the Ferrari academy and with Haas running a Ferrari engine he would break his relationship with the Italian marque if he moved to Aston who are a Mercedes power unit customer team.
The Ferrari engine appears the class of the 2022 field and with power unit designs frozen until 2026, the Haas outfit look set to prosper for a few years to come.
At present Schumacher moving to Aston appears to be a retrograde step and even the lure of a much bigger pay check is unlikely to turn his head as he stands to inherit his father’s fortune one day.
Whether Deb’s romantic view of his replacement is realistic only time will tell. Yet Aston losing such an experienced driver who can assist with the engineering development of the car will surely replace the 4 times world champion with an experienced driver.