Why Mick Schumacher sees Mercedes reserve role as a ‘step forward’
To be part of “such a giant team” in Mercedes and learning in that environment means Mick Schumacher still sees this reserve driver role as a forward step in his career.
Schumacher spent his first two F1 seasons with the Haas team, who decided to go down an all-rookie route for 2021 when they signed reigning F2 champ Schumacher and fellow F2 graduate Nikita Mazepin.
Schumacher would continue with the team through 2022, now alongside a highly experienced team-mate in Kevin Magnussen, but was unable to secure his place at Haas beyond that season.
While his overall performance level improved throughout the year, Schumacher was not able to convince Haas that he was the driver to take them forward, the team instead opting to bring his more experienced compatriot Nico Hulkenberg back to the grid.
That though did clear the way for Schumacher to sign with Mercedes as a reserve driver, the final team in the legendary career of his father, seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher.
“Unfortunately, it’s not a seat in Formula 1 this season,″ Schumacher told Sky, quoted by Sport1, though that does not mean he is looking at this in a negative way.
In fact, while he is not part of the F1 2023 grid, Schumacher firmly believes that he has moved forward in his career by signing with Mercedes.
“Being a reserve driver at Mercedes is of course also a step forward,” he said.
“In such a giant team I can learn so much and take so much with me for my hopefully future career in Formula 1.″
And to that point, Schumacher very much does intend on making his way back onto the Formula 1 grid in the very near future, as soon as 2024 if he has his way.
His career may have seemingly taken a knock, but the German racer remains focused on not only making a comeback, but also ensuring that World Championship success awaits for him.
“The goal is to get back into Formula 1 in 2024,” Schumacher confirmed. “The goal of all of us drivers is to become World Champion – and that is also my goal.”
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Could another Mercedes door open for Mick Schumacher?
Already Mercedes gave Schumacher a huge career lifeline by signing him up as their reserve driver, but could a spot on the grid with the eight-time Constructors’ champs await even?
The team has made a tricky start to the season once more in F1 2023 with a title challenge seemingly out of reach again, meaning that Lewis Hamilton, tied on seven World titles with Mick’s father Michael, will not get the chance to break that holy grail of F1 records this season.
The Brit has said that he remains focused on that goal, but clearly frustrated with Mercedes’ predicament and openly critical of the team who he feels did not listen to him with the W14, Hamilton’s future at Mercedes and in F1 is uncertain with his Mercedes deal up at the end of the season.
Hamilton signing a new Mercedes contract is the most likely scenario, but if he decides to walk away, Schumacher would surely be in prime position to fill that vacancy.
Mercedes have George Russell, who beat Lewis Hamilton for points in his first season with the team in 2022, also taking their only victory and pole of the season, so the 25-year-old is looking like a strong bet for future success.
And with no Mercedes junior seemingly near ready to step up to an F1 race seat with them, Schumacher would make a very logical choice to partner Russell if Hamilton was no longer on the scene.