Franz Tost has confirmed that he proposed Mick Schumacher as a potential driver for AlphaTauri at the end of 2022. Ultimately, however, Red Bull made the decision to sign Nyck de Vries instead of Schumacher.
Originally, AlphaTauri had planned on having Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda as their drivers for the 2023 Formula 1 season. But due to the circumstances involving Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri, Gasly found an opportunity at Alpine, which was approved by Red Bull. This left a vacant seat at AlphaTauri.
Schumacher move to AlphaTauri expected
“It was like this,” says Tost in the interview, “that Mick Schumacher didn’t get a cockpit for this year. With us it was then open after this Pierre Gasly story came to light, because for me it was actually originally clear that our driver pairing would be Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda.”
“Then suddenly Pierre was given to Alpine, and that left us with a vacancy. Until Monza it was completely unclear who would be our driver. And then I logically thought of Mick Schumacher,” the Austrian admits.
Tost closely followed Schumacher’s Formula 1 career and believes that he is much better than he is perceived by the public. However, his proposal to bring Schumacher to AlphaTauri was rejected, and they ultimately signed Nyck de Vries as their driver.
“Mick’s much better than he is currently perceived in the outside world” confirms Tost, but his proposal to bring Schumacher to AlphaTauri “was rejected. We are now racing with Nyck de Vries […] and there’s really nothing more to discuss,” said Red Bull bosses.
Marko on Schumacher
Tost’s interest in Mick Schumacher became known through his uncle Ralf. He had explained in another interview, also on the YouTube channel of Formel1.de:
“Then Dr. Helmut Marko came, who didn’t want that for personal reasons or whatever, and decided for Nyck de Vries.”
In response to Ralf Schumacher’s interview, Marko clarified his stance on Mick Schumacher, stating that he has great respect for Michael Schumacher and that he has no personal issues with the Schumacher name. However, he mentioned that Schumacher was outside of their sphere of influence as he was part of Ferrari’s junior program.
“I have no problems whatsoever with the name Schumacher. On the contrary. After all, I’m talking to Ralf. Michael Schumacher is one of the greatest for me, if not the greatest at all.” said Marko,
“Mick Schumacher was under the wing of Ferrari in their junior programme from the beginning of his career and was therefore outside our circle of influence.” And: “AlphaTauri is still a team for juniors.”
Marko clarifies: “This has no personal reasons whatsoever.”
Mercedes deal sealed Schumacher’s future away from Red Bull
Although rumors circulated in Germany about Schumacher potentially joining AlphaTauri, Marko unequivocally stated that Schumacher’s name could be crossed off the list as he is under contract with Mercedes.
Schumacher’s name could be crossed off the list was unequivocal: “Yes. Besides, he is under contract to Mercedes.” said Marko.
Furthermore, de Vries has shown promising performances in recent races, particularly in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, which may have secured his position for the time being. Even if he were to be replaced before the end of the season, Red Bull’s junior driver Liam Lawson would likely be the first choice.