Sebastian Vettel kicked off the Formula One 2022 ‘silly season’ which sees rumours and speculation abound over who will be driving for whom next season. With the quadruple world champion retiring from the sport there has been added intrigue as instead of just musical chairs where everyone swaps places a new face will join the game.
Of course Nyck de Vries has already been announced to be joining there Red Bull family in a deal that saw the team ditch their perennial bridesmaid Pierre Gasly for a rising star from the Mercedes training camp.
Haas want to keep Mick motivated
At the US GP in Austin Jost Capito, boss of Williams Racing, announced another new face would be joining Formula One. The American backed team intended to bring in the American Formula 2 driver, Logan Sargeant, so long as he achieves the required super license points the final weekend of F2 racing.
This leaves Haas with 1 seat unconfirmed and despite Gunther Steiner’s starring role in the drive to survive Netflix saga, he and the team are leaving it late to make an announcement.
Theory 1 is that Haas have decided to ditch Mick and have not made the announcement because they are in a dog fight with Alpha Tauri for P8 in the constructors’ championship. By holding back the announcement they hop to motivate Mick to do his best until the end of the season.
Kevin Magnussen picked up 4 valuable points last time out in Austin and with Yuki Tsunoda claiming only 2 points for his P9 this saw Haas take a two point lead over Alpha Tauri.
Haas decision already made
Fellow German and ex-F1 racer Timo Glock believes that Haas have already decided to part ways with Mick.
“I’m not sure to what extent a decision has perhaps already been made internally and everything is now being dragged out a bit,” said Glock to Sky Germany.
“The hurdle for Mick is very high at the moment. Not because he doesn’t perform as well as he should, but because Haas has other internal ideas.”
Schumacher has scored just 12 of the Haas team’s 38 points this season and shows no sign of permanently getting closer to his team mate Kevin Magnussen’s performance level.
“No alternative” for Haas F1
Theory 2 is proposed by Ralph Schumacher, Mick’s uncle, writes for Sky Germany, “Mick has done everything he needs to do to continue driving for Haas in Formula 1 in 2023,”
“Gene Haas [team owner] and Guenther Steiner [principal] will also think about it properly and then realise that there is no alternative to Mick.”
Despite Gunther Steiner publicly telling Daniel Ricciardo to give him a call, Ralph believes he “is not the one” Haas will recruit and “Nico Hulkenberg is already on his way to retirement.”
“On the basis of his [Mick] performances and improvements this year, you can see how much potential is still to be expected from Mick. Accordingly, there is no alternative to him.”
Mick Schumacher reserve role
Ricciardo has to announce “his plan to return to the front of the grid” as he told reporters in Austin, yet it appears he will be taking a reserve driver position for either Mercedes or Red Bull Racing.
Ralph believes the worst case scenario for Mick is the role of a reserve driver too yet argues the best for team and driver is for Haas to retain Mick.
“Of course, it’s always conceivable that Mick, like Ricciardo, will be a reserve driver for another team next season and then get a regular drive again in 2024,” Ralf states.
“But it would of course be better and more important for his development if he were to in a Formula 1 seat full time.”
“And above all, Mick will be entering his third year in F1, the car has been developed very well. Because of the cost cap, the other teams won’t make any big leaps either.
“Continuity would therefore be important for both parties, because 2023 would be the year when they could reap the fruits of their own labour and celebrate even greater successes together.”
Mick’s future at Audi
That said Ralph believes Mick’s long term future is not with Haas but with the newly announced partnership between Sauber and Audi confirmed for 2026.
“I think it’s all about getting through 2023 for Mick,” Ralph commented to SPORT1
“Because the way I see it, his future lies with Audi. They want him and there have already been talks.”
Its not just 2023 Mick Schumacher needs to ‘get through’ but 2024 and 2025 – three long years to survive – before Audi officially join the Formula one grid.
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