Marko: Mick Schumacher talks ended by ‘stupid’ Toto Wolff ‘politics’

15 Jun, 2023

Helmut Marko has revealed that brief talks between Mick Schumacher and Red Bull ended abruptly, which he attributes to Toto Wolff playing “politics” against the Austrian team.

Schumacher has been sporadically linked to an F1 return in recent months, with the German driver looking to restart his career in the sport after losing his seat at Haas.

Although his duties as a Mercedes reserve driver give him important responsibilities, spending time away from a seat only hurt his chances of getting back on the grid.

There have been a few whispers linking Schumacher to a possible Williams seat, with such rumours somewhat inevitable given the relationship between Toto Wolff and James Vowles – team principal of the Grove-based team.

As of yet, there is nothing to substantiate or validate these reports.

However, there is now quite concrete evidence of Franz Tost’s interest in acquiring the 24-year-old’s services for AlphaTauri last summer.

Tost wanted to sign Schumacher as a replacement for Pierre Gasly, who capitalised on a surprise opening at Alpine – triggered by Alonso’s move to Aston Martin.

However, after an impressive Monza cameo, Red Bull instead opted to sign Nyck de Vries.

Fast-forwarding to an interview earlier this year, amidst De Vries’ slow start at AlphaTauri, Helmut Marko ruled out Mick Schumacher as an option for the Faenza squad.

The Red Bull advisor has shed some light on the short-lived negotiations with Mercedes regarding Muck Schumacher:

“It was mentioned at a meeting. It’s just stupid that Mr Wolff, at the same time, openly made politics against us with the FIA again,” he told Sport1.

“With that, the topic was off the table. Why should we sign Schumacher? He is a Mercedes driver; Mr Wolff is responsible for him.”

These comments put the nail in the coffin for Schumacher’s chances at AlphaTauri, forcing the youngster to explore his options elsewhere.

It is difficult to pinpoint what Helmut Marko described as the “politics” that Toto Wolff was engaging in, but in any case, the Red Bull advisor was sufficiently annoyed to end negotiations.

At present, the only team where an opening seems even remotely feasible is Williams – a team which may have a seat available depending on Logan Sargeant’s level of performance this year.

However, are no indications that Williams is dissatisfied with the American driver’s rookie season, making even this hypothetical change unlikely to play out in reality.

Toto Wolff did not appear to have a clear contingency plan for Schumacher after Haas replaced him, hence the tricky situation the 24-year-old reserve driver finds himself in.

This is not to say Wolff is to blame for Schumacher’s predicament. After all, teams cannot be forced to sign a driver.

Still, with a loan spell at AlphaTauri out of the question – and even Mercedes-affiliated Williams far from a clear option – Mick Schumacher’s future in F1 is increasingly in jeopardy.

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang