Toto Wolff has given the biggest hint yet that Mick Schumacher’s future lies with Mercedes, the team boss saying the “Schumacher family belong to Mercedes”.
According to various sources Schumacher’s days at Haas are done, the German informed of the team’s decision to replace him with Nico Hulkenberg during the Sao Paulo Grand Prix weekend.
Haas, it is believed, will announce the decision on Wednesday, team boss Guenther Steiner spending his Tuesday ironing out the finer details of a contract with Hulkenberg before they put pen to paper.
It leaves Schumacher with almost no options for a 2023 Formula 1 race seat as Williams is the only team with an open seat, and that has Logan Sargeant’s name pencilled in depending on him bagging the necessary super licence points in the F2 finale.
With the 23-year-old most likely having to settle for a reserve driver role, it has been suggested by Auto Motor und Sport that he’s up against Daniel Ricciardo for the Mercedes reserve spot.
The McLaren driver is said to be the team’s ‘first choice’, but if he opts to return to Red Bull then they want Schumacher.
Wolff was asked about the rumours, telling RTL: “I don’t know what the status is with Mick and Haas.
“But I make no secret of the fact that the Schumacher family belongs to Mercedes and that we value Mick very much.”
The Mercedes motorsport boss, though, acknowledges that the priority needs to be getting Schumacher into a race seat.
“But first of all,” he continued, “it should be about Mick getting a regular cockpit.”
The Mercedes option would open more doors for Schumacher for a 2024 return as the Brackley squad shares their reserve drivers with the other Mercedes-powered teams.
That meant Nyck de Vries took part in Friday practice outings with Aston Martin, Williams and Mercedes this season, even making his F1 debut with Williams when he filled in for the unwell Alex Albon.
He scored two points and it wasn’t long before AlphaTauri signed him for next season.
He was also in the running to replace Lando Norris at McLaren when the Briton came down with a bout of food poisoning.
Schumacher has made it clear that staying in Formula 1 is his only priority.
Responding to former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone’s comments that he should “forget” about F1, the 23-year-old told Bild that his only plan is to “keep going.
“It’s hard to forget Formula 1. I love it too much so I won’t do that.
“Everyone always has an opinion on everything. I care about the opinions of the people I care about.”
Schumacher has one more opportunity to score points in Formula 1 and impress future team bosses when he lines up at this weekend’s season finale in Abu Dhabi.
To date he has just two top-ten results, P8 at the British Grand Prix and P6 in Austria.