‘Significantly better’ Mick Schumacher was overlooked by Red Bull for AlphaTauri seat

Sam Cooper
Mick Schumacher signs for Mercedes as a reserve driver. December 2022

Mick Schumacher signs for Mercedes as a reserve driver. December 2022

Franz Tost revealed that his first choice to replace Pierre Gasly was Mick Schumacher but was ultimately turned down by Red Bull management.

Following Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri’s departures, Alpine were in need of a new driver and quickly the then-AlphaTauri man Gasly rose to the top of their shortlist.

There needed to be some negotiation though with Gasly having signed on with AlphaTauri for the 2023 season in June 2022 but parent company Red Bull appeared willing to let the Frenchman go.

But first they wanted to find a successor and having been turned down by the FIA in their pursuit of Colton Herta, Red Bull eventually settled on Nyck de Vries, although it appears Tost was not happy with the decision.

“Initially, it was clear to me that our driver lineup would be Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda,” Tost told Formel1.de.

“Then suddenly Pierre was assigned to Alpine, and that left a spot open for us.

“Until Monza, it was completely uncertain who our driver would be. And naturally, I thought of Mick Schumacher.”

The second-longest serving F1 boss went on to say that Schuamcher was “significantly better” than his reputation outside the paddock suggests but that the team decided to go with De Vries.

“For us, it was then open, after the Pierre Gasly situation came to light,” the 67-year-old Austrian said.

“He is significantly better than he is currently perceived in the outside world.”

“It was rejected though,” he stated.

“We now have Nyck de Vries and there’s really nothing more to discuss.”

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Will Mick Schumacher get back on the grid in 2024?

Schumacher had his first taste of on-track action since the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last week as he took part in a Pirelli test in Barcelona but the question now is, when will he be back on the grid in a full-time capacity?

Working and learning from Mercedes will have done his career no harm but the longer you stay out of Formula 1, the harder it appears to get back into it and right now, there is no obvious team he could return with.

While De Vries’ future at AlphaTauri is uncertain, Helmut Marko has made clear that if the team do make a switch they will favour one of their academy products. Elsewhere, the only currently vacant seats in 2024 are Lewis Hamilton’s, Logan Sargeant’s, Yuki Tsunoda’s, Kevin Magnussen’s, Nico Hulkenberg’s and Zhou Gunayu’s with none of those being a likely option for Schumacher right now.