Sky F1 presenter Peter Hardenacke believes Mick Schumacher, who he claims had Kevin Magnussen “in his pocket at times” during the second half of F1 2022, deserves to return amidst the Williams chatter.
Quite a toll was taken on the relationship between Haas team boss Guenther Steiner and the Schumacher camp during a turbulent two seasons with the team for the 24-year-old, that association ending at the conclusion of the 2022 campaign.
Schumacher was unable to find a seat on the F1 2023 grid, though he remains involved with the series via Mercedes, with team principal and one-third owner Toto Wolff having signed him to a reserve contract for the year.
And it was reported recently by Sport1 that Wolff was turning to former Mercedes strategy chief, now the Williams team principal James Vowles, in a bid to get Schumacher back onto the grid.
And Sky F1 presenter Hardenacke believes there is a “good chance” this will come to fruition, even though Vowles has tipped their rookie driver Logan Sargeant to improve as F1 2023 goes on, he being the driver who it is believed would feel threatened by Schumacher’s lurking presence.
“I could still imagine – through the connection between Toto Wolff and James Vowles – that there is a good chance for Mick to drive for Williams next year,” said Hardenacke on Sky F1’s Backstage Pit Lane podcast.
“The main thing is that Mick comes back to Formula 1 and he should make it quickly. He simply deserves it if you saw last year, how he dealt with that monster pressure.
“Mick also had Kevin Magnussen in his pocket at times in the second half of the season, gave him a good fight.”
But while Hardenacke can very much foresee a scenario where Williams do take an interest in Schumacher, Sky F1 commentator Sascha Roos does not share the same optimism, if it is indeed Sargeant who would need to make way.
While the Florida native is not at this stage a household name in the United States, Roos believes the 22-year-old is still too valuable of a commodity for Williams to do without, considering the explosion of interest for the series in the nation.
This then would spell big trouble for Schumacher’s chances of muscling his way in to partner Alex Albon.
“I can’t imagine Williams doing without an American because of F1’s current charisma,” said Roos. “So Sargeant should be firmly in the saddle.
“I think there is also pressure to have an American in F1. In that case, Albon would have to leave and make way for him, but that doesn’t seem very realistic to me.”
Sargeant is one of only two drivers, the other being fellow rookie over at AlphaTauri Nyck de Vries, who are yet to register a point in F1 2023.