Mick Schumacher admits “time is running out” for new F1 contract

CIRCUIT ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 04: Mick Schumacher, Haas F1 Team during the Dutch GP at Circuit Zandvoort on Sunday September 04, 2022 in North Holland, Netherlands. (Photo by Andy Hone / LAT Images)

Mick Schumacher was one of the casualties in the driver market last season, missing out on a contract with Haas F1. The American outfit opted to sign the experienced Nico Hulkenberg for 2023, forcing the 24-year-old to find an alternate path.

Schumacher has spent the year as Mercedes reserve driver, often spotted in the garage with Toto Wolff during race weekends.

However, in a sport where young drivers are always fighting for a first chance, it will be crucial to secure a new agreement within the next few months.

In many ways, Hulkenberg’s return (which ended Schumacher’s F1 journey) was an exception to the rule.

Typically, returning to the field after a multi-year absence is a difficult feat – even for drivers with an impressive track record.

MELBOURNE GRAND PRIX CIRCUIT, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 31: Nico Hulkenberg, Haas F1 Team during the Australian GP at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on Friday March 31, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jake Grant / LAT Images)

Speaking to Sky Germany, the 2020 Formula 2 Champion explained that work continues behind the scenes:

“I’m still working on it… Time is running out a bit, but in the end, I have to take my time.”

Toto Wolff, as expected, is very complimentary of the 24-year-old, arguing that Schumacher was denied a healthy environment to develop as a driver:

“I think he deserves to be on the starting grid. If you win Formula 2 and Formula 3, then you have great potential,” motorsport-total quotes him as saying.

“He was never able to show that at Haas.”

As it stands, the options in the market are very limited. Williams and Alfa Romeo are among the only teams without both drivers confirmed for next season.

There were some links to AlphaTauri earlier in the season, but Helmut Marko has clarified that collaboration is no longer possible in the time since.

Alfa Romeo is generally expected to retain Zhou Guanyu, but even then, the closest challengers are understood to be Theo Pourchaire of Felipe Drugovich.

This only leaves Williams, who is yet to guarantee Logan Sargeant’s continuation for 2024.

Although Schumacher’s links with Mercedes could help in the fight for a seat in Grove, James Vowles seems willing to give the American driver more time to develop.

In any case, it is worth observing all the players in an ever-changing transfer market.

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang