Bernie Ecclestone believes Mick Schumacher has not lived up to people’s expectations, believing that “his name is his biggest burden” when trying to prove his Formula 1 credentials.
The former Formula 1 chief executive thinks the Haas driver has not been able to show enough to earn a place on the grid for next season as a result, with rumours rife that veteran Nico Hulkenberg could be set to replace him at the team next season.
Schumacher attracted criticism in the early part of this season for several crashes and a lack of pace alongside Kevin Magnussen on the other side of the garage.
While he has improved relative to his team-mate as the year has progressed, Schumacher’s Formula 1 future has remained uncertain throughout, with Haas team principal Guenther Steiner keeping his options open over Magnussen’s partner for next year.
“I don’t think he is in,” Ecclestone said matter-of-factly of Schumacher’s 2023 prospects, as per RTL in Germany.
“People were disappointed with his performance – whether it was down to him or the team, we don’t know.
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“But of course, it’s difficult to find someone who will put him in a winning team, because he is not in one of those at the moment.”
“Maybe he needs to forget F1 and focus on the other motorsport series. His name is his biggest burden, but he is trying to live up to it as best he can. And that’s what brings him all the problems. That’s why: Forget about it and win in another category.”
Current Aston Martin reserve driver Hulkenberg spoke recently about keeping himself in shape and ready for any opportunities which may arise in Formula 1 for next season, with the former Renault, Force India and Williams driver said to be the prime candidate alongside Schumacher to race with Magnussen in 2023.
But when it came to the topic of youth versus experience in the Schumacher-Hulkenberg debate, Ecclestone does not think the fact Hulkenberg is 35 will count against him.
“It’s not about age, it’s about mental state,” Ecclestone said. “Look at Juan Manuel Fangio, he started at an age when everyone stops nowadays.”
Schumacher currently sits on 12 points for the season so far, compared to 24 for Magnussen at Haas. The team sit only one point ahead of AlphaTauri in eighth in the Constructors’ Championship heading into the final two races of the season.