Hans-Joachim Stuck says Mick Schumacher must be ready to pounce on Logan Sargeant’s F1 seat but questions whether Williams should persevere with the rookie for another season.
Like Schumacher did last season with Haas, this year Sargeant is making headlines for all the wrong reasons with the American crashing twice in the Japanese Grand Prix weekend alone.
But while pundits and past drivers have questioned whether it’s time for Williams to cut him loose, the team is standing by their driver.
Mick Schumacher or Logan Sargeant for the Williams seat?
Team boss James Vowles made it known after Suzuka that Williams “want him to succeed and we want him in the car next year” alongside Alex Albon.
Offering mitigating circumstances for the 22-year-old’s point-less run, Vowles explained that Williams had taken Sargeant straight out of Formula 2 “without any significant testing”, they’d given him a “day-and-a-half in Bahrain in this car” and then “wish them well”.
But while Williams are wishing him well, the queue to replace him seems to grow by the week with Schumacher joined by Felipe Drugovich, and his “millions”, as well as AlphaTauri reserve driver Liam Lawson.
Stuck, though, feels Sargeant deserves a bit more of a chance.
“It’s the same story as with Schumacher at Haas last year,” he told Eurosport. “These are situations that, in my opinion, are completely normal for young drivers. Crashes just happen.
“Whether you have to throw someone out because of it is a different question.”
Sargeant’s seat though, is Stuck’s compatriot Schumacher’s only chance of returning to the Formula 1 grid next season.
As such the 72-year-old says: “If Schumacher wants to stay in Formula 1, he has to take advantage of a good opportunity. And if someone comes out of Williams and a door opens for them there, that would of course be very good.”
Stuck warns Schumacher against Alpine WEC drive
What Stuck doesn’t think would be good for the German is taking up Alpine’s offer for a World Endurance Championship drive.
Interim Alpine F1 team boss Bruno Famin confirmed those reports at the Japanese GP, telling the media: “It’s true that we’re talking with Mick about the possibility to race in our endurance programme with the A424.
“It would be a good opportunity for both parties I think. For the time being, we’re just talking.”
Stuck fears that would be the end of Schumacher’s Formula 1 dream.
“I don’t know if this is the right way,” he said. “If he suddenly leaves now, then he’s out of the window.”
But having said that, the German accepts that his best days of racing were in the WEC with Porsche where he won the 1986 and 1987 Le Mans titles.
“It was the same for me back then. After I left Formula 1 in 1979, I switched to Porsche and achieved my greatest successes there with the World Endurance Championships,” said Stuck.
“Unlike Schumacher, I was a little older back then. That is of course something completely different.
“Only he can decide what direction his career takes.”