Mick Schumacher’s future was the story that ran and ran to the very end of the Formula One season last year. He was ruthlessly ditched by Haas at the last race in Abu Dhabi with no time to find an alternative drive for 2023.
However, Toto Wolff stepped in to save the young German’s F1 career and signed him as the Mercedes reserve driver replacing the outgoing Nyck de Vries.
Schumacher sim work pays off
Mercedes have been impressed with Schumacher who has regularly put in long shifts in the simulator after Friday practice. The data he’s generated the team have put to use by fine tuning the car for the rest of the weekend.
At the British Grand Prix the W14 looked woeful on Friday and both Hamilton and Russell failed to make the top ten list of fastest drivers. The Mercedes’ technical director revealed later it was the overnight work back at base which meant Hamilton and Russell could qualify on Saturday in 6th and 7th.
“The engineers and Mick Schumacher were working late into the night till 2am trying to figure out how to get the best preparation of the car to be in good shape for a qualifying lap for that single push lap without changing the fundamental setup,” said James Allison.
Earlier in Barcelona Hamilton had spoken highly of the work Mick was doing to our around their poor Friday performance.
Hamilton praises Mick’s efforts
“The car felt great [on Sunday],” said Hamilton. “Friday was a real struggle with the balance, it was way out of the window. It was very hard to drive, very unpredictable. And then we did some great work overnight.
“We’ve got a great team, with Mick back in the simulator on Friday night and he did some great work, which helped us get on the right track on Saturday. I think we did pretty decent work in trying to understand the different downforce levels.”
Despite the plaudits from Mercedes, it is highly unlikely Mick Schumacher will get a full time F1 drive with the team. With George Russell mid contract and Hamilton expected to resign for at least two more years, Mick will need to look elsewhere if he wants to revive his driving career.
Formula One correspondent Lawrence Barretto believes an opportunity is about to arise that should see Mick back on the F1 grid. While admitting Williams are trying to support Logan Sargeant if he fails to improve then Schumacher is the “obvious contender” to replace him.
Logan’s average junior formula career
When Sargeant was announced by Williams as their new rookie driver for 2023, there were puzzled looks shared in the paddock. The Florida born American has had a junior career that is best described as average.
Two years in the FIA F3 competition saw Sargeant 19th and then 3rd the following year.
2021 was split between F3 and F2 for Logan but his full year in F2 only yielded 4th in the driver standings. Given how difficult it is for even an F2 champion to make it into Formula One, clearly Sergeants rich family in the background gave him a helping hand.
Schumacher was rumoured to be about to replace Sargent back in June, although Williams since then have made a big deal over how Logan is meeting expectations so far.
Vowles defends Sargeant
Vowles even went public suggesting he had looked at Sargeant for a junior role with Mercedes a while ago but praised Williams for making the right choice by recruiting the Floridian.
Barreto believes time is short for Sargeant in his article published by the Formula 1 website.
“The British team, who sit seventh in the standings, already have highly-rated Alex Albon tied up for 2024. On the other side of the garage, rookie Logan Sargeant has had a solid but unspectacular start to life in Formula 1, and knows he needs to up his game to stick around for another season.
“Williams have thrown their collective arm around the American’s shoulders and tried to keep the pressure off him in a bid to help him find a rhythm.
“They are backing him to succeed and earn a second campaign in blue – but he needs to not only find consistency but also close the gap to Albon, particularly in qualifying, and get himself on the scoreboard.”
Sargeant ‘worst’ of the F1 team mates
Logan Sargeant has the worst record in 2023 when comparing each driver with their team mate. Even the sacked Nyck de Vries had better stats after 10 races than Sargeant at Williams.
He starts an average of 5 places behind Albon over the first 12 Grand Prix of the year and his finishing position at the chequered flag is an average of 4.5 slots behind his team mate.
Barreto is clear. “If he doesn’t [improve], his seat is under threat. Mick Schumacher would be an obvious contender, having briefly had talks with the team last year and having kept his hand in through his Mercedes reserve role, where he has earned public praise for his efforts from [Lewis] Hamilton and [George] Russell.”
However, the trend is not Logan’s friend because since the Canadian Grand Prix, Albon is getting even further ahead of his team mate and could easily have more points that he does from two P11’s I his last three outings.
Have you recovered yet, @ZhouGuanyu24?! 😄
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 12, 2023