As Mick Schumacher faces an uncertain future, Sebastian Vettel has called on Formula 1 teams to keep him on the grid next season.
Schumacher is out of contract with Haas at the end of this season and reportedly recently ended his relationship with Ferrari, which would mean not getting the Scuderia’s help to retain the seat.
That could be because he has been linked to rival teams – Alpine, Williams and now even AlphaTauri, while Ferrari have effectively shut the door on him until at least 2025.
On paper, Schumacher’s chances of staying on the grid have not been helped by his results, the 23-year-old scoring points only twice in 35 race starts.
Vettel, though, believes part of the blame for that rests with Haas as last season the car was dreadful, with neither driver having any chance of scoring.
This season Haas have taken a step forward but so too has Schumacher, insists his mentor.
“I hope it won’t happen. I think he deserves a seat,” said Vettel, quoted by motorsport-magazin.com.
“He’s better than people think. He made good progress last year, which many people couldn’t see.
“Unfortunately, because the car was so bad, it didn’t show.”
He added: “I know there is more (talent) there.”
But while Schumacher has two top-10 results on the board this season, he also has two big crashes to his name.
The driver was not able to start the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after a hard hit in qualifying meant he went to hospital for precautionary checks, while another big crash in Monaco had his team boss Guenther Steiner seething.
Vettel believes the son of seven-time former World Champion Michael Schumacher has bounced back from those disappointments.
“I think he made up for it with a few strong races and you could see his speed and talent,” he said.
Haas have the luxury of time and choices
With eight-time grand prix winner Daniel Ricciardo on the list of available drivers, the Australian having made the call to leave McLaren a year early, Haas have an abundance of options to consider.
Steiner is in no rush.
“We’ve decided to wait a bit,” he told Autoweek. “We are not in a hurry.
“We monitor the situation with Mick and see what is happening. We are not in a hurry – why do we need to decide now anyway? If we decide now and make the wrong decision and we regret it, why would we force ourselves to decide?”
As for Schumacher, he is not giving away any clues.
“What is being discussed behind the scenes between us is something I’d rather keep between us,” he said.