Mick Schumacher will be back on the grid next season, not the Formula 1 grid but World Endurance Championship as he contests his first season with the Alpine endurance team.
Dropped by Haas at the end of the 2021 season, Schumacher made it clear he wanted to return to Formula 1.
But having already spent one year on the sidelines as Mercedes’ reserve driver, and facing the prospect of another with all but Williams having confirmed their drivers, he opened the door to “Plan B”.
Mick Schumacher admits he missed racing in 2023
That is the World Endurance Championship with his good friend and Alpine F1 driver Esteban Ocon urging him to approach interim Alpine team boss Bruno Famin.
That led to a test driver at the Jerez circuit where Schumacher was behind the wheel of Alpine’s A424 Hypercar, and now a race seat for the 2024 endurance season.
“A new chapter is beginning for me with Alpine in the FIA WEC Hypercar category,” said the German, the son of seven-time F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher.
“The car is impressive, and I can’t wait to get started.
“I’ve grown up with single-seaters, so driving a car with a closed cockpit and covered wheels is a great opportunity to hone my driving skills.
“I sorely missed racing this year; it’s what I’ve loved to do since I was a kid, and it was sometimes difficult to watch the other drivers take to the track.
“Endurance racing is a new challenge for me, and I’m sure we will share great moments together next year with Alpine.”
Schumacher will dovetail his hypercar commitments with the Mercedes reserve driver role, the Brackley squad confirming he will “retain his reserve driver role with the team for 2024”, adding: “We’re excited to see Mick continue to contribute to our team alongside his new challenge in World Endurance next season.”
Famin, the vice-president of Alpine Motorsports, welcomed the driver to the fold with Schumacher signed alongside Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere, Charles Milesi, Paul-Loup Chatin and Ferdinand Habsburg.
“At this decisive phase for the A424 programme, we are proud to reveal the six drivers who will race for us in the Hypercar category in 2024,” said Famin.
“With Philippe Sinault, we wanted drivers who are not only fast and reliable, but also showing a real team spirit and good racing acumen to best represent the Alpine colors in the premier category of the World Endurance Championship.
“We are absolutely delighted to have these six drivers and we hope they will all bring their own experience and qualities to the project, for example Charles with his youth, Nicolas with his experience in Endurance to mentor the younger drivers, and also Mick, with his experience gained at the highest level.
“It might be his first foray into Endurance, but his enthusiasm for the project and his will to join us are palpable. I’m sure he will be a real asset.”
Alpine will reveal the specific crews for each car and the A424 official livery at the launch event on 7 February 2024.