How “political reasons” cost Mick Schumacher AlphaTauri drive

Jaden Diaz

Franz Tost has revealed that he wanted to sign Mick Schumacher for AlphaTauri, but a combination of factors prevented this move from happening.

Mick Schumacher spent most of last season battling for his F1 career, trying desperately to earn a contract extension with Haas and keep his place on the grid.

The 23-year-old was ultimately unsuccessful, with Haas opting to offer a contract to Nico Hulkenberg for the 2023 season.

However, what is less known is that Alpha Tauri’s team boss was interested in acquiring Schumacher’s services last year.

In a recent interview with RTL, Franz Tost explained: “I would have actually liked to have had Mick in the car”, reflecting on how the transfer market evolved last season.

Tost continued by revealing that he is “convinced Mick is talented and also has what it takes to drive successfully in Formula 1.”

When considering that Alpha Tauri was actively looking for a suitable replacement for Pierre Gasly – whose interest in an Alpine move was well established – it does not seem unreasonable that Schumacher was being considered.

However, according to Franz Tost, “other circumstances” and “political reasons” prevented this move from materializing.

Schumacher’s status as a Ferrari academy driver very likely contributed to this, with Red Bull preferring to focus on their own young drivers.

With that said, Nyck de Vries, who eventually joined AlphTauri, was not a Red Bull junior driver – somewhat refuting this logic.

Still, it seems plausible that the Dutchman could serve as a stop-gap until some of the talents in Red Bull’s academy prove themselves worthy of an F1 seat.

Ultimately, whilst Franz Tost is AlphaTauri’s team principal, Red Bull has absolute control over which drivers are promoted and replaced at the Italian squad.

Franz Tost, after all, never wanted to release Pierre Gasly from the team. So it doesn’t seem unreasonable that Tost’s preference for Mick Schumacher could have been overlooked.

The 23-year-old is now a Mercedes reserve driver, which will give him a platform to stay active in the paddock and evaluate his options for a return.

Red Bull’s pool of young drivers in Formula 2 almost certainly eliminates AlphaTauri as an option for Mick Schumacher. Still, it would be unwise to assume Schumacher will not enter negotiations with any teams evaluating their options in 2023.