Mick Schumacher is thrilled to have been offered an F1 lifeline as he joins Mercedes in a reserve role for 2023.
Schumacher has taken over the role of reserve driver at Mercedes for 2023, taking over the vacant position left by Nyck de Vries as the Dutch driver joins AlphaTauri for a race seat.
The German driver had been looking at a barren 2023 after losing his F1 seat at Haas and being dropped from Ferrari’s Driver Academy,but now has the opportunity to rebuild towards a race seat as he works alongside Lewis Hamilton and George Russell at Mercedes.
Schumacher was understandably thrilled to be joining the eight-time Constructor’s Champions, having spent two years with lower-midfield squad Haas before getting the call-up to join Mercedes.
“I am thrilled to be part of the Mercedes F1 Team as their reserve driver for 2023, and I am committed to giving it my all to contribute to their performance in this very competitive and professional environment,” he said in the wake of the announcement.
Mick Schumacher follows in father Michael’s footsteps
Schumacher’s new place of employment is where father Michael finished off his Formula 1 career 10 years ago.
Having retired from Ferrari and Formula 1 at the end of 2006, Schumacher senior wasn’t able to resist the call of the racetrack as Mercedes came back into F1 for the 2010 season under the hand of Ross Brawn – Schumacher teaming up with the former Ferrari playmaker in a bid to bring success to the three-pointed star.
While Schumacher and Brawn enjoyed a solid few years together, the successes Brackley would go on to achieve came after Schumacher’s final retirement – and after Brawn had been replaced by Toto Wolff as team boss.
Schumacher had also previously raced with Mercedes, establishing links with the German marque when he raced for Sauber-Mercedes in World Sportscars at the turn of the 1990s.
It’s in this history that Schumacher junior is hoping to re-ignite the legacy his father left at the team following his retirement.
“It means a lot,” he said.
“I mean, my dad has been part of this team from 2010 until 2012. Obviously, it was a lot of the foundations of what it’s today. So I’m very proud of being part of it now. Hopefully, I’ll be able to help them to go forwards and progress and contribute my knowledge to it.
“I’ve always felt very close to Mercedes, not only because of the history with my family, but also just because of F3 and the time that I got to spend here when I was younger, and yeah, just the relationship that I have with Toto as well,” he continued.
“So I feel very, very happy to be a part of it, even though it’s not as a main driver, but I’m sure it’s gonna be just as important to contribute to it and give it my all. So that’s what I’m planning on doing.
“I saw the development that the W13 has gone through this year, and the steps it has taken over the course of the year – from a difficult start to a race-winning car. So I’m excited about next year to see what is possible, and, hopefully, I’ll be able to contribute a good amount to it. And hopefully, we’ll be able to fight for the world championships at the end of the year.”
Toto Wolff effuses Mick Schumacher’s qualities as a driver
Team boss Toto Wolff, who had sung Schumacher’s praises towards the end of 2022 when rumours of such a link-up first emerged, said the team are delighted to have secured his talents.
“Mick is a talented young driver and we’re delighted to have him join the team,” he said.
“He is a hard worker, has a calm and methodical approach, and is still hungry to learn and improve as a driver.
“These are all important qualities, and we’re excited for him to help us develop the W14. We also know that with two years of experience racing in Formula 1 under his belt, he will be ready to step into the car at short notice to replace either Lewis or George, should that need arise.”
The last time a Mercedes driver was unable to take part in a race was at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, when Lewis Hamilton tested positive for COVID-19.
As a result, then-Williams driver George Russell was called up to replace him and race alongside Valtteri Bottas – Russell’s exemplary drive in which he was a real threat for the race victory until a late puncture played a key part in him eventually securing the full-time race seat alongside Hamilton.