Guenther Steiner makes bold Mick Schumacher prediction amid now-or-never warning

Oliver Harden
Mick Schumacher smiling broadly with the logos of Alpine and Mercedes alongside him

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Former Haas team principal Guenther Steiner fears Mick Schumacher “will probably never” regain a seat in F1 if he doesn’t take advantage of a potentially volatile driver market in 2024.

Schumacher, son of seven-time World Champion Michael, spent two seasons at Haas after winning the prestigious F2 title, but was dropped at the end of 2022 after struggling alongside team-mate Kevin Magnussen.

Guenther Steiner on Mick Schumacher’s F1 comeback hopes

The German took a year out in 2023, spending it working alongside Lewis Hamilton and George Russell as Mercedes’ reserve driver, before making a return to racing with Alpine in the World Endurance Championship this season.

The 24-year-old, who is splitting his Mercedes role with his Alpine commitments in 2024 in a unique arrangement, finished 12th on his endurance debut in Bahrain earlier this month.

Although Alpine team principal Bruno Famin claimed in February that the F1 squad have “no plan” to test Schumacher in an F1 car, the former Haas star remains hopeful of returning to the series on a permanent basis in the future. recommends

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The reverberations of Lewis Hamilton’ shock move to Ferrari for 2025 – opening up a slot alongside George Russell at Mercedes – are likely to create opportunities in the market for next season, with Alpine’s current drivers Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon both out of contract at the end of 2024.

Steiner, who was widely criticised for his treatment of Schumacher at Haas, has challenged his former driver to use his WEC campaign as a “stepping stone” for his F1 ambitions, claiming it will be difficult to return after three full years away.

He told German publication BILD: “If it doesn’t work out next year, it will probably never work out again.

“He has to perform well in the WEC this season – then it can be a stepping stone.

“If he doesn’t race in Formula 1 next year, it will be three years without a cockpit.

“Sure, he was there for two years and is part of the new generation – but what use is that then? It would be extremely difficult if he was completely out for three years.”

Andrea Kimi Antonelli, the 17-year-old Italian sensation, is widely-regarded as Mercedes’ preferred choice to replace Hamilton in 2025, with two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso said to be a fallback option if the teenager is deemed as too big a risk.

With Aston Martin driver Alonso himself indicating at the recent Saudi Arabian Grand Prix that he will make a decision on whether he wants to continue in F1 “in the next few weeks”, Steiner has teased there could be yet more twists and turns to come in the driver market.

“We will see how the driver market in Formula 1 develops,” he commented. “It’s not yet clear whether someone will quit.”

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