German former racing driver Ralf Schumacher, the younger brother of seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher, has urged Haas to keep Ferrari Driver Academy member Mick with the team for the 2023 championship and pointed out that the young German driver showed he has what it takes to remain in the most important racing series, despite the fact that his results have at times not reflects his true performance and potential.
The future of Mick Schumacher in Formula 1 remains uncertain, as the American side has not yet confirmed who will drive in 2023 alongside Kevin Magnussen ’s F1 future hangs in the balance with Haas yet to announce whether he will stay on past 2022, with Nico Hulkenberg, Antonio Giovinazzi and the Ferrari junior being evaluate for the final seat on the grid:
“Mick has done everything he needs to do to drive for Haas in Formula 1 in 2023,” Ralf Schumacher recently explained, in an interview for Sky Sports, before Friday’s track action at the 4.304-kilometre Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.
“Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner will also think about it properly and then realise that there is no alternative to Mick. Daniel Ricciardo is not one and Nico Hulkenberg is already on his way towards retirement rather than uprooting trees again. Based on his performances and improvements this year, you can see how much potential can still be expected from Mick. Accordingly, there is no alternative to him.” – the former Formula 1 driver explained added.
Despite the fact that Ralf Schumacher and several other F1 personalities inside the paddock strongly believe that Haas should extend Mick’s contract for the nest year, the comments made by the American team in recent days have been clearly less decisive.
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Two weeks ago, Haas team founder and owner Gene Haas admitted to being worried due to the several crashes which Mick Schumacher has been involved in and felt that too many financial resources had to be invested in damage repairs, meaning they could not be used for developing the car due to the now well-known budget cap limit.
Mick Schumacher had a rather difficult first part of the 2022 Formula 1 season, with two crashes at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit and on the streets of Monte Carlo, the latter being particularly violent and costly, a moment that also affected his confidence. However, the Ferrari junior gradually improved as the season progressed and also managed to score points in two races, while also missing out on other good opportunities due to some questionable strategy decisions made by the Haas pit wall.
Unfortunately for Mick, a crash in the first free practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit again made things difficult for him.
Haas boos Guenther Steiner pointed out that it was a £450k crash and also admitted that the last seat on the grid for 2023 is in fact a 50-50 between Mick Schumacher and Nico Hulkenberg.
Since then, several media outlets also reported that Ferrari-backed Italian driver Antonio Giovinazzi could be taken into consideration for a seat at Haas in 2023, but Ferrari’s current reserve driver crashed in the first free practice session for the United States Grand Prix, an incident that didn’t help his chances.
“Steiner has recently become much more conciliatory in many ways – also in Austin. One thing is clear: we all want Mick to drive in Formula 1 next year, he’s shown the performance. And above all, Mick is already in his third F1 year, the car has been developed very well. Due to the cost cap, the other teams will not make any big jumps. Continuity would therefore be important for both parties, because 2023 would be the year where you can reap the fruits of your own work and celebrate even greater successes together. Mick has once again proven that he has a strong race pace. In Austin he was super strong and long time ahead of Kevin Magnussen. But then it went backwards. However, Guenther Steiner assessed the situation properly. He said that Mick was very fast for a long time, but then his race became difficult for various reasons. He defended Mick, which I think is great.” – German former racing driver Ralf Schumacher concluded.