Ralf Schumacher has predicted an all-new driver line-up at Alfa Romeo next season – potentially his nephew Mick Schumacher and Nico Hulkenberg.
That would, of course, mean no place for Kimi Raikkonen, who is considering whether or not to retire from Formula 1, or Antonio Giovinazzi.
Sky Germany pundit Schumacher believes Alfa Romeo want a senior racer to guide a youngster who is part of Ferrari’s Driver Academy.
The team, formerly known as Sauber, currently have a partnership of contrasting experience, with Raikkonen having begun his F1 career in 2001 whereas Giovinazzi is in only his second full campaign.
But Schumacher, winner of six F1 races for Williams between 2001 and 2003, thinks the identities in those roles will change next term as Ferrari, who supply Alfa Romeo with engines, want to install one of their emerging young talents currently competing in F2.
The candidates in question are Schumacher’s nephew Mick, son of Michael, along with Britain’s Callum Ilott and Russia’s Robert Shwartzman.
That trio fill three of the top four placings in the current F2 Championship standings as Shwartzman leads the way ahead of Ilott with Schumacher in fourth position.
However, given his background, there is no doubt that Schumacher jnr would be the most marketable option for Ferrari and Alfa Romeo.
“Everyone knows about the close co-operation between Ferrari and Alfa Romeo, it would make sense to place a newcomer there,” Schumacher told Sky Germany.
“I also think they are looking for two new drivers, an experienced man and a promising driver. Maybe negotiations are already under way with Hulkenberg.”
Hulkenberg’s only F1 appearances this season have been for Racing Point, deputising for Sergio Perez who tested positive for COVID-19, after the German was dropped by Renault at the end of last year.
Schumacher also predicted there could be an Alfa Romeo free practice test for one of the Ferrari Academy drivers at an F1 race weekend this year.
“For Alfa Romeo, things are not going so well at the moment to say the least. You don’t lose much if you let a young driver participate on a Friday,” he said.
Mick Schumacher has already driven for Ferrari and Alfa Romeo at in-season testing in Bahrain in April 2019.
Ralf, meanwhile, also speculated that all three of Ferrari’s F2 prospects could make the step up next year – with the other two joining Haas, who have yet to give any indication as to whether they will retain either or both of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.
“Ferrari wants to accommodate the three juniors, so this would be the logical option.,” said Schumacher.