Toto Wolff: Haas ‘wouldn’t dare’ treat Mick Schumacher the same with Michael by his side

Michelle Foster
Toto Wolff laughing with Mick Schumacher in the Mercedes garage. Australia April 2023

Toto Wolff laughing with Mick Schumacher and Jerome D'Ambrosio in the Mercedes garage. Australia April 2023

Toto Wolff agrees with Ralf Schumacher that had Mick’s father Michael been at the track, his former Haas team boss Guenther Steiner would’ve treated him better.

Haas called time on Schumacher’s Formula 1 career at the end of last season, Steiner putting an end to months of speculation in which the team boss added fuel to the fire by making it known the driver’s seat was not safe and that he was looking at alternate options.

That came to pass with Steiner informing Schumacher on the eve of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that Haas would not be renewing his contract, instead signing 35-year-old Nico Hulkenberg.

His uncle Ralf Schumacher, vocal in his criticism of Steiner’s handling of his nephew, claimed that never would have happened had Michael been present.

“I believe,” he told F1-Insider, “and this bothers me the most: If my brother had been there, Guenther Steiner would have behaved differently.

“I just think Michael’s presence would have been enough. But again, everyone does what they want.”

Wolff agrees with that sentiment.

“I can only say that his parents did nothing wrong in bringing him up,” he told Blick, “and I claim that if Michael had accompanied his son during the two Haas years, Steiner would not have dared to treat Mick like that!” recommends

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The updated Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship standings after the Australian Grand Prix

The late decision to part ways with Schumacher meant the 2023 grid was already locked in with Schumacher instead taking up a reserve driver role with Mercedes.

It’s one that Wolff insists will see the German replace Lewis Hamilton or George Russell if they are unable to race.

That wasn’t the case the last time the team needed a substitute, Wolff putting then Williams driver Russell in the car at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix instead one of the team’s reserve drivers.

“This time Mick would drive,” the Austrian insisted.

“If one of our drivers gets Covid or gets injured, Mick will be in the Mercedes. Period, end of discussion.”

As such Wolff is keen to get the driver into one of the team’s old cars to get him up to speed.

“We’re trying to get an old car ready for him as soon as possible,” he revealed.

Will Formula 1 see Mick back on the grid any time soon?

That seems unlikely given a lot of the 2024 race seats have already been filled. Although Hamilton has yet to commit to Mercedes in a new contract, that is said to be more of a formality that a question.

That leaves Haas, his old team with Steiner very unlikely to recall the German, AlphaTauri, who ruled him out of 2023 and instead went with Nyck de Vries, Williams, who are expected to retain Logan Sargeant as Alex Albon’s team-mate, and Alfa Romeo.

The latter could be an option as three years down the line they’ll become Audi with the German manufacturer keen on putting a German driver in the car.

But with Valtteri Bottas on a multi-year deal, Zhou Guanyu doing a solid job and Theo Pourchaire waiting in the wings, even that option is but a slim one for Schumacher.

What he desperately needs to secure his future in Formula 1 is a one-off appearance such as De Vries’ with Williams, one in which he had ‘audition’ for a spot because let’s be honest, his Haas performances didn’t set the stage alight.