Rival team highlights the main challenge facing Mick Schumacher for a 2024 seat

Michelle Foster
Mercedes' Mick Schumacher in the garage at the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix.

Mercedes reserve Mick Schumacher.

Mick Schumacher needs an on-track test in the W14 if he hopes to return to the Formula 1 grid next season, that’s the opinion of AlphaTauri CEO Peter Bayer.

Dropped by Haas at the end of last year’s championship, Schumacher was left without any options for a 2023 race seat as Haas’ call only came on the eve of the season finale.

Mercedes were quick to snap him up with Toto Wolff signing him as their official test and reserve driver with Schumacher credited for his late-night effort in the simulator that played a part in the team’s double Spanish Grand Prix podium.

‘That’s where the challenge lies for Mick Schumacher’

But he’s yet to put in a lap at a grand prix weekend although has taken part in a Pirelli outing.

Schumacher, with his 43 starts, wouldn’t count toward Mercedes’ two FP1 sessions for rookie drivers as those juniors can’t have taken part in more than two grands prix, but that doesn’t mean he can’t put in an FP1 showing.

In fact, AlphaTauri’s Bayer believes that’s the best opportunity for the 24-year-old to show the paddock what he can do.

“That’s where his challenge lies. How can he prove he is fast?” he said as per GPBlog.

“If Toto doesn’t put him in the car once, it will be difficult for Mick.”

Giving Daniel Ricciardo a similar opportunity worked for the Aussie when Red Bull put him in the RB19 after the British Grand Prix and, impressed with his lap times, promoted him to AlphaTauri while saying goodbye to Nyck de Vries.

“If Daniel had not driven such [good] times at Silverstone, he would not be in the car with us now,” Bayer said.

But of course, it must be noted Mercedes aren’t in the same position of looking for a replacement driver, not this year and also not next season with Lewis Hamilton expected to re-sign.

One team that could be, though, is Williams.

The Mercedes-powered team currently fields Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant, but with the latter yet to score a single point it has been suggested unless that changes, this could be his only season on the grid with Schumacher leading the running to replace him.

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Formula 1 correspondent Lawrence Barretto wrote in a piece for the official website: “They are backing him to succeed and earn a second campaign in blue – but he needs to not only find consistency but also close the gap to Albon, particularly in qualifying, and get himself on the scoreboard.

“If he doesn’t, his seat is under threat.

“Mick Schumacher would be an obvious contender, having briefly had talks with the team last year and having kept his hand in through his Mercedes reserve role, where he has earned public praise for his efforts from [Lewis] Hamilton and [George] Russell.”

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