Franz Tost has revealed he put Mick Schumacher’s name forward for the 2023 AlphaTauri race seat but was overruled by Red Bull bosses who wanted Nyck de Vries.
Having initially thought confirming their driver line-up of Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly was a mere formality for 2023, mid-way through last year AlphaTauri lost the Frenchman when Alpine came calling.
Red Bull agreed to release him and instead signed De Vries after the Dutchman’s incredible one-off drive at the Italian Grand Prix where he scored points in a Williams that struggled to even close in on the top ten.
However, the former Formula E champ wasn’t AlphaTauri team boss Tost’s number-one pick as he wanted Schumacher.
Without a contract for 2023, after he was dropped by Haas, the 67-year-old put the German’s name forward.
“It was like that,” Tost told Formel1.de, “that Mick Schumacher didn’t get a cockpit for this year.
“It was then open to us after this Pierre Gasly story came to light because it was actually clear to me originally that our driver pairing will be Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda.”
“Then suddenly Pierre was awarded to Alpine, and that gave us a place. Until Monza, it was completely unclear who would be our driver. And then, logically, I thought of Mick Schumacher.”
Proclaiming the German to be “much better than he is currently perceived by the outside world”, Tost says his recommendation was “rejected.
“We’re driving with Nyck de Vries […] and there’s actually nothing more to discuss.”
De Vries is one of two drivers yet to get off the mark this season with his best result to date his P12 in Monaco.
Tost’s comments come weeks after Ralf Schumacher declared his nephew had missed out on the AlphaTauri drive because Helmut Marko had a “personal” issue with Schumacher.
“Franz Tost, as the team manager and team principal, initially wanted a different driver because he knows that it takes two to three years [to get new drivers up to speed],” Schumacher revealed in an interview with Formel1.de.
“The driver available on the market was Mick. Mick would have made sense as well.
“But then Dr. Helmut Marko came along and, for personal reasons or whatever it may be, didn’t want that and chose Nyck de Vries instead.”
Marko refuted this and hit back by saying the only reason Red Bull signs anyone is because of “performance, not on marketing”.
“I have no problem with the name Schumacher,” Marko told oe24. “For me, Michael Schumacher is the greatest.
“I talk to Ralf regularly. But he is confusing one thing: our F1 programme is based on performance, not on marketing.”
Schumacher is keen to return to the grid next season and was briefly linked to Williams only for James Vowles to make it clear he is happy with his current line up of Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant.
As such Toto Wolff concedes his chances aren’t looking good for 2024
“The situation in 2024 is so unfavourable,” said the German’s team boss. “In 2025 a few doors will open again. We’ll have to wait and see how the pace develops at Williams, but it’s not easy.”