Mick Schumacher will remain in Formula 1 next year and become a reserve driver for Mercedes. Schumacher will thus become a team mate of record world champion Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. If one of the two British regular drivers drops out, Schumacher will take the wheel of the Silver Arrow in 2023 having agreed with Ferrari to end their backing.
With the silver star on his chest, he walked through his new sporting home in Brackley, posed in front of the Silver Arrow, a strong handshake from Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff followed – and the signing of the contract that changes a lot.
“I see this as a kind of new beginning,” Schumacher said. The job as a reserve driver at Mercedes secures his future in Formula 1 for the time being after his retirement from the Haas racing team, but it could also open up completely new possibilities. And it could significantly increase his chances of returning as a regular driver.
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) December 15, 2022
The environment is “very competitive and professional”, Schumacher said on Thursday: “Being able to develop here is very special. It’s going to be a long year with a lot of work.”
Mick Schumacher on hand for every race
The season kicks off in Bahrain on 5 March and Schumacher will then be on location at every race, standing in as a reserve driver for Hamilton and George Russell. There are also opportunities with the Mercedes customer teams. In addition, a lot of simulator time awaits the 23-year-old, Schumacher is to help with the development of the W14.
From the smallest team in the racing series, historically slow and financially weak, the German is heading for one of the best in the business, and the change of climate should not be underestimated either: The last six months at Haas were no fun, Schumacher was stalled, publicly criticised and then shown the door at the latest possible moment. Nico Hülkenberg replaced him at Haas.
Mercedes, on the other hand, quickly sided quite obviously with the young driver, verbally opening the door already once. He sees an “intelligent young man”, said motorsport boss Toto Wolff, a good racing driver anyway, and anyway: “The Schumacher family is closely connected with Mercedes.”
Mick Schumacher following in his father’s footsteps
After all, his father Michael had already worked for Mercedes, and from 2010 to 2012 the record world champion himself drove for the star in Formula 1 to round off his career – and in turn helped to shape the winning team of the following years.
“The fact that my father drove here makes it even more special,” says the son.
For him, too, the role at Mercedes can now be a stepping stone, even compared to Ferrari. At the Scuderia, Schumacher was part of the development squad until the end, but this cooperation is now coming to an end.
Nyck de Vries showed the possibilities of a Mercedes replacement driver last season: the Dutchman stepped in at Williams, impressed straight away and now has a regular cockpit for 2023 at AlphaTauri.
For Schumacher, the job at Mercedes is now probably the best possible alternative to a regular cockpit. He will get to know one of the best cars in the field, Schumacher should benefit greatly from training sessions, simulator work and the highly professional environment in Brackley. At Haas, the smallest team, the car was not competitive in Schumacher’s debut year in 2021 and was always to be found at the end of the field. In 2022, only occasional midfield results were possible.
Schumacher, too, wants to stay relevant in Formula 1; he wants to be back on the grid in 2024. In future, another German car giant may also play a role: Audi will provide a works team from 2026, has already bought into the historic racing team Sauber – and expressly wants to compete with a German driver.