Mick Schumacher may have paid the price for the war between Mercedes and Red Bull with Helmut Marko revealing Toto Wolff approached Red Bull about the driver while at the same time speaking against the Milton Keynes team to the FIA.
And with that, he says, “the topic was off the table.”
Left without a race-seat after being dropped by Haas after two trying seasons with the American team, AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost campaigned to sign Schumacher only for Red Bull to say no.
In keeping with other comments he’s said of late, the Austrian told F1-Insider: “Mick is better than his reputation. He has won the two most important junior classes, which alone entitles him to drive in Formula 1.
“I pointed out that in today’s complex Formula 1 without test drives, even the greatest talents need at least three years to reach their potential.
“But it was decided at the highest level not to take him.”
That, though, was only the first attempt by a team boss to put Schumacher in an AlphaTauri with the publication claiming Sport1 reports his 2023 Mercedes team principal Wolff sought a conversation with Red Bull CEO Oliver Mintzlaff about signing the driver should the team opt to part ways with Nyck de Vries.
But his timing couldn’t have been worse says Marko
“It was mentioned at a meeting. It’s just stupid that Mr. Wolff at the same time openly made politics against us at the FIA again,” said the Red Bull motorsport advisor.
“With that, the topic was off the table.”
He added: “Why should we catch Schumacher? He is a Mercedes driver, Mr. Wolff is responsible for him.
“If he thinks so highly of him, why not let him drive in his own team or use his influence to get him into a customer team like Williams?”
Although the AlphaTauri’s door has been shut to the German, Tost is hoping that it’s only a matter of time before he’s back on the F1 grid.
“I can only hope for him that he can come back as a regular driver,” said the soon-to-be-retired AlphaTauri team boss.
“Because I’m convinced he has what it takes to be a very good Formula 1 driver. And that has nothing to do with the magic of his name.”
But while Tost doesn’t seem to agree with Marko’s decision not to sign Schumacher, former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has had a go at the driver’s former team boss, Guenther Steiner.
The Italian made the call to drop Schumacher after one too many expensive crashes, outlining all the events and conversations in his ‘Surviving to Drive’ book which has the word “fok”, spelled to match his pronunciation, 351 times in 280 pages.
Labelling him an “unsuccessful team boss”, Ecclestone isn’t impressed that Steiner’s “rude comments” made him a “superstar”.
“An unsuccessful team boss has ensured that Mick’s career in Formula 1 is over for the time being,” he said.
“However, what do you think of the statements of a man who only became a superstar in the paddock thanks to rude comments in a Hollywood-directed documentary aimed at the US market?”