Mika Hakkinen’s simple yet blunt advice for Mick Schumacher to return to F1 grid

Henry Valantine
Mercedes reserve driver Mick Schumacher checks his messages at the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix.

Mercedes reserve driver Mick Schumacher checks his messages.

Mika Hakkinen has offered simple driving advice for Mick Schumacher in his quest to return to Formula 1: “Brake later, accelerate earlier.”

The two-time World Champion was one of his father Michael’s most famous rivals throughout his career, and the ‘Flying Finn’ agreed that it’s difficult to be a young driver in Formula 1 today due to the lack of testing opportunities available.

Schumacher has received widespread praise from Toto Wolff, Lewis Hamilton, and George Russell for how he goes about his simulator duties with Mercedes in his reserve role currently, but a return to the grid remains the German’s priority.

Mika Hakkinen on ‘very difficult’ challenge for Mick Schumacher and other young drivers

After two seasons at Haas, Schumacher was overlooked in favour of the experience of Nico Hulkenberg after struggling to match Kevin Magnussen in the first part of last season.

But given the need to impress immediately in Formula 1 nowadays, Hakkinen believes there is a huge amount of pressure on drivers who break into the top tier of motorsport as a result, without the proving ground of testing available.

“Brake later, accelerate earlier…” Hakkinen told F1-Insider in Germany when asked for advice on how Schumacher could make his way back onto the Formula 1 grid.

“It’s generally very difficult for young drivers today. In my time, there used to be a lot more tests, so the drivers had time to develop.

“Today there are practically no more tests, at most you sit in the simulator. And you’re judged on that.

“When I came to McLaren, the team gave me time to develop. Today, you have to succeed straight away. If not, you’re out.”

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Mick Schumacher holding onto hope despite lack of F1 options

As for Schumacher himself, he admitted that time is running out to try and find a seat for 2024, with only three seats available for next season – both AlphaTauri drives and one at Williams.

He admitted a ‘Plan B’ option is now in place in case he cannot get back onto the grid, but he is not giving up on his dream just yet.

“I am a driver and all I want is to win, but I also have to be realistic and keep going,” Schumacher told Sky Sports Germany.

“You haven’t seen the real Mick yet.

“We have seen in the last two, three years that anything can change, even if contracts are in place, so giving up hope is wrong. Hope is the last thing to disappear.”

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