Mick Schumacher could find himself at the centre of a tug of war in 2024 as a result of his dual commitments with Mercedes and Alpine.
After spending the entirety of 2023 as Mercedes’ reserve driver, having been dropped by Haas at the end of the previous season, Schumacher will return to racing in 2024 as a member of Alpine’s World Endurance Championship assault.
Despite representing a rival manufacturer, albeit in a different category, Schumacher – son of seven-time World Champion Michael – will retain his role as Mercedes’ reserve for this year as he remains hopeful of regaining an F1 seat in the future.
Mercedes, Alpine links leave Mick Schumacher in rare situation
Schumacher’s commitments to Mercedes and Alpine has led to a unique situation involving the two manufacturers’ competing luxury watch sponsors, whose respective headquarters are situated just three kilometres apart in the Swiss town of Schaffhausen.
While Mercedes have a long-term partnership with IWC, Alpine announced a deal with H. Moser & Cie at the beginning of this month affecting both their F1 and WEC teams.
F1 drivers are usually subjected to strict exclusive agreements with luxury watch brands, but Schumacher’s commitments to Mercedes and Alpine have seen a so-called “special deal” put in place for the 24-year-old.
According to Swiss publication Blick, a Moser representative has confirmed that the two companies have committed to sharing Schumacher, who will wear the watches of Moser on Alpine duty and those of IWC when in Mercedes colours.
Speaking to media including PlanetF1.com’s Thomas Maher at the end of last season, Schumacher denied that his move to the WEC with Alpine is a sideways step and reiterated his ambition to return to an F1 seat at some point.
He said: “I’m a racing driver, I haven’t been out of racing in 14 years previous to this, so it was definitely a clear choice and clear direction that I wanted to be racing again next year.
“It is an upcoming championship in general, so I wouldn’t say I wouldn’t call it a sidestep.
“I think it’s it has its charm and its challenges just as much as Formula 1 does.
“So, I’m doing a dual programme with the reserve driver’s seat role as a whole, to keep contact with Formula 1 but definitely I see it as a challenge, and I see it as something where also I, as a driver, can develop further hopefully as well.
“If, let’s say, my way leads back to Formula 1 one day, then I’ll be able to take that development that I have done in that series over to Formula 1 again.”