With just two seats left for the Formula One 2023 seasoned excitement of the driver market transfers is tapering off. Yet there is still huge interest for F1 fans and pundits alike as to what will Mick Schumacher’s future be? Haas and Williams are yet to confirm who will partner Kevin Magnussen and Alex Albon.
Schumacher’s sophomore peer Yuki Tsunoda has recently been given a new contract by Alpha Tauri and rookie Zhou Guanyu is set for a second year in F1 with Alfa Romeo.
The Schumacher name is synonymous with the modern Formula One era with Michael Schumacher joint holder of the all time F1 driver titles record with Lewis Hamilton.
“Home advantage” is better
Yet son Mick has not had the most impressive of first two seasons with most F1 observers believing his future is very much touch and go.
That said, there is some late encouragement for Mick that his future at Haas is soon to be extended given comments made by Haas team boss Gunther Steiner.
“If you are working with somebody for two years, that’s an advantage,” said Steiner. “The incumbent has always got the advantage. It’s a home advantage.
“If you can have somebody you work with for two years, it’s better than somebody new in. That’s why we brought Kevin back as well because he was here.”
Haas no rookie recruits
Haas were burned after jettisoning their experienced driver lineup of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen to recruit two new rookies for the 2021 season.
New drivers Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher failed to score any points that season and the team was 10th in the constructors’ championship 23 points behind F1’s perennial ‘bottom of the pile team’ Williams who were a respectable P8 ahead of Alfa Romeo.
The rumour mill in the paddock has been hot over the past two GP that Nico Hulkneberg is also in the running for the vacant Haas driver in 2023.
Hulenberg in Haas discussions
Hulkenberg is only one of 6 drivers to win the Formula 2/GP2 series in his first season; the others being Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Charles LeClerc, George Russel and Oscar Piastri, so his racing pedigree is beyond question.
Nico also won the Le Mans 24 hour race with Porsche at his first attempt though is the record holder for less impressive Formula One statistics.
The German driver surpassed Adrian Suit’s record of 128 starts with no podium visits at the Singapore GP in 2017. Hulkneberg’s record now stands at 181 GP with no podium and is also the record holder for the most points scored without a Grand Prix win.
Carlos Sainz held that particularly dubious record until his win this season at the British GP.
Hulkneberg’s incredible record
The problem for Nico is since his departure from full time F1 racing at the end of the 2019 season, he has had just 4 reserve driver outings in 3 years.
This season Hulkneberg deputised for Sebastian Vettel at the first two rounds due to the fact Sebastian had contracted Covid-19.
Haas other driver Kevin Magnussen of course lost his full time F1 seat, but was only out of the sport for a year before his successful comeback season this year with Haas.
Mick Schumacher appears strong favourite
Steiner’s words that Mick has “home advantage” together with Hulknebergs 3 year absence from full time Formula One driver throws the young German a lifeline of hope.
Further Steiner refers to “bringing Kevin back” because “its better than somebody new”. Hulkneberg has never worked with Haas or Gunther Steiner so yet again this is a huge hint that Mick is own the ox seat for Haas 2023.
Haas decision is almost definitely between these two drivers since Gunther Steiner stated at the Singapore GP, “we’re done with inexperienced drivers”.
Maybe the Haas delay in announcing Schumacher is because Steiner is a huge star on the Netflix ‘Drive to survive’ show and they’re building a storyline for one of this season’s episodes.
— Mark Gallagher (@_markgallagher) October 12, 2022