Toto Wolff has all but ruled out Mick Schumacher returning to the F1 grid next season as the Mercedes motorsport boss admits his prospects are “unfavourable”.
Having spent two seasons racing for Haas, campaigns in which he recorded more big crashes than points finishes, Schumacher was dropped by the team on the eve of the 2022 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
With only an AlphaTauri seat still open at the time, but Helmut Marko seemingly against putting Schumacher in the car according to his uncle Ralf Schumacher, the German was left without a race-seat.
Mercedes stepped in, signing him as their official reserve driver for this year’s championship.
Wolff said at the time that he was keen on helping him return to racing while more recently it’s been suggested Wolff could turn to Williams, now headed up by former Mercedes strategy chief James Vowles, for a seat for the driver.
But with Vowles having since back his rookie driver Logan Sargeant to find his form, Wolff concedes Schumacher’s chances of returning to the F1 grid next season are slim.
“It’s a difficult situation because the cockpits are taken with us,” he told Sky Deutschland, “even though I wish Mick would get a seat, he would have deserved it.
“The situation in 2024 is so unfavourable.
“In 2025 a few doors will open again. We’ll have to wait and see how the pace develops at Williams, but it’s not easy.”
But, he added: “We have to be careful because if we support Mick too much, then there are those who want to make it particularly difficult and then come crawling out of their holes.”
Wolff’s latter comment could be seen as a response to Marko’s rejection of his driver.
The Red Bull motorsport advisor ruled out signing Schumacher last season when he cited the driver’s connection to Ferrari as the reason. But even when Schumacher parted ways with the Scuderia’s junior academy, Marko still wasn’t keen.
His uncle Ralf told Formel1.de he believes Marko has a “problem with the Schumacher name”.
Speaking about AlphaTauri’s decision to sign Nyck de Vries rather than Mick, he said: “Franz Tost, as the team manager and team principal, initially wanted a different driver because he knows that it takes two to three years.
“The driver available on the market was Mick. Mick would have made sense as well.
“But then Dr. Helmut Marko came along and, for personal reasons or whatever it may be, didn’t want that and chose Nyck de Vries instead.”
“It seems that Helmut Marko has a problem with the Schumacher name,” he added.