Toto Wolff believes Mick Schumacher “deserves to be in F1”, and believes his World Endurance Championship drive with Alpine could put him back in the shop window for 2025.
Both Mercedes seats are sewn up until the end of 2025 after Lewis Hamilton and George Russell penned new deals in 2023, but Schumacher has stayed on as Mercedes’ reserve to run a dual programme and compete for Alpine in WEC next year.
Having lost his seat at Haas for the season just gone, Schumacher had been looking to find his way back onto the grid but in a rarity for Formula 1, only one seat has changed from the start of 2023 to 2024 as Daniel Ricciardo replaces Nyck de Vries, meaning doors closed for Schumacher one by one as new deals were signed.
Toto Wolff trusts Mick Schumacher to do ‘perfect job’ with WEC drive in 2024
Additional reporting from Thomas Maher
Mercedes team boss Wolff said when signing the German that the team would “look after” him when bringing him in as reserve driver last year, and he has been credited for the simulator work he has been doing behind the scenes at Brackley in helping bring the team forward.
But now he will have the opportunity to get back on track again, Wolff is looking forward to Schumacher having the opportunity to impress – with 14 F1 drivers out of contract at the end of 2024.
“Mick is a good driver and deserves to be in F1. Sadly, there isn’t any place free at present,” Wolff said in Mercedes’ end-of-season review.
“Mick going into WEC, which is a World Championship with a constructor like Alpine, is a very good opportunity for him.
“I believe he’s going to do a perfect job and it keeps him sharp racing and possibly help him come back into Formula 1.”
For Schumacher himself, he is relishing the opportunity to be back on a circuit again after a year off, having completed reserve duties for Mercedes.
He’s looking to keep himself in people’s minds in Formula 1, but is also looking to his chance in WEC to try something new.
“I’m a racing driver, I haven’t been out of racing in 14 years previous to this, so it was definitely a clear choice and clear direction that I wanted to be racing again next year,” Schumacher told media including PlanetF1.com in Abu Dhabi.
“It is an upcoming championship in general, so I wouldn’t say I wouldn’t call it a sidestep.
“I think it’s it has its charm and its challenges just as much as Formula 1 does.
“So, I’m doing a dual programme with the reserve driver’s seat role as a whole, to keep contact with Formula 1 but definitely I see it as a challenge, and I see it as something where also I, as a driver, can develop further hopefully as well.
“If, let’s say, my way leads back to Formula 1 one day, then I’ll be able to take that development that I have done in that series over to Formula 1 again.”