AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost has said he rates Mick Schumacher highly and considered him as a candidate for a seat in 2023.
Mick Schumacher will not be racing in Formula 1 in 2023, with the former Haas driver dropped by the American-led squad after two seasons in favour of the returning Nico Hulkenberg.
Son of seven-time F1 World Champion, Michael, Schumacher was unable to find a seat elsewhere on the grid but has since been signed up by Mercedes and Toto Wolff to become the Brackley-based squad’s reserve driver.
AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost has revealed that he was personally interested in signing Schumacher for his team before the Red Bull-owned squad plumped for Dutch racer Nyck de Vries after his attention-grabbing points finish at Monza while deputising for the ill Alex Albon.
AlphaTauri had the luxury of being able to evaluate other drivers, as they had Pierre Gasly under contract for 2023, but Red Bull had indicated they were willing to release the experienced Frenchman for pastures new – provided they had a suitable replacement.
American driver Colton Herta looked like a shoo-in for the seat, but super licence issues prevented Red Bull from signing the IndyCar star.
Franz Tost: I’d have liked to have had Mick Schumacher in the car
Tost revealed that he would have liked to have had Schumacher, had the decision been one for him to solely make.
“He was an issue [of conversation] for me, personally,” Tost told Germany’s RTL in conversation about the 2020 Formula 2 Champion.
“I would actually have liked to have Mick in the car,” he continued, expressing his stance that “Mick is talented and that he also has what it takes to drive successfully in Formula 1.”
With Schumacher finding refuge at Mercedes as he aims to find a way back to the grid, Tost reckons it’s a good home for the young German as Mercedes are a “very, very good team, one of the best in Formula 1, so, of course, he can learn a great deal.”
Tost also expressed hope that Schumacher will get the chance to drive the Mercedes W14 on track in a Friday practice session during 2023, in order to give Schumacher “self-confidence and technical understanding and hopefully bring him back to the starting grid at some point.”
Tost explained that no moves were made to try bringing Schumacher into the Red Bull fold in some capacity, due to his status as a Ferrari Academy driver – Ferrari since releasing him from their roster.
With Red Bull’s Helmut Marko previously saying no to Schumacher because of his Ferrari link, Tost told RTL that there were “political reasons” behind not signing Schumacher as it would have required extensive negotiations with Ferrari.
“It then never came to an obligation,” Tost said. “But, personally, I think very highly of him.”