Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is reportedly working to get Mick Schumacher back onto the F1 grid, and has turned to an old friend in a bid to make it happen.
Schumacher is currently spending F1 2023 on the sidelines at Mercedes, Wolff having extended a helping hand to the German racer after a turbulent spell with Haas ended with the team letting him go at the conclusion of the 2022 campaign.
And while Schumacher has spoken highly of the benefits of his Mercedes reserve role, getting the chance to watch how the engineers work at a team featuring seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton and rising star George Russell, Schumacher understandably wants this experience to lead to a Formula 1 return.
And as per a report from Sport1, Wolff has taken on the challenge of this mission to make Schumacher a Formula 1 driver once again.
Competition for the 20 seats on the grid is always fierce, but fortunately for Schumacher, Wolff is not short of contacts outside of Mercedes, and he is reportedly using one of them to try and open a door for his reserve driver.
Wolff is no stranger to the Williams team, having owned shares in the team previously, while he is very familiar with their team principal James Vowles, who before taking up that role early in 2023, was Mercedes’ long-standing strategy chief.
Sport1 claim that Wolff is attempting to convince Vowles to give Schumacher a Williams seat in the place of their F1 2023 rookie Logan Sargeant.
The American racer delivered a promising start to his first F1 campaign, though having struggled to really kick on from there while team-mate Alex Albon has delivered some standout performances, Sport1 say Sargeant is now considered a “shaky candidate” by Williams.
Recent outings have involved a late collision with fellow rookie, AlphaTauri’s Nyck de Vries in Melbourne, while Sargeant missed the Baku sprint after crashing in the Sprint Shootout qualifying session.
Sargeant and De Vries are the only drivers yet to score a point after five rounds of the F1 2023 campaign.
Not long ago James Vowles praised Logan Sargeant
If Vowles and Williams are already starting to consider Sargeant’s long-term future with the team, then it marks a quick reversal in the American’s fortunes.
Judging by Vowles’ past opinion of Sargeant, having confirmed that he previously overlooked him when at Mercedes, it would at one time have been easy to understand if Vowles was quick to start considering other options, but actually, Vowles said he had been proven wrong by the Florida native.
“He came to Mercedes as a sim evaluation, I was interested in looking at him because he had performance, especially when you go back to his Formula 3 performance at an average team, he was there with Oscar [Piastri] and I rate Oscar also highly,” said Vowles.
“At the time in Mercedes, we had a good suite of drivers, so that was where my relationship with him ended.
“He then, prior to me arriving at Williams, Williams funded, it’s very important to state this, his Formula 2 career so he is now salaried as a professional driver and Williams funded him because they had deep belief that he was the real deal.
“And my reticence came from the fact that prior to that it’s difficult to really judge him, but I have to say, he’s now been in the car, I now have the ability to look at his data, he is here on merit, and as a result of Williams investing correctly in him, he’s now a professional driver, deserving driver on the grid at the same time.
“So it just shows you that in my previous life I was wrong. And Williams right.”
The world of Formula 1 of course moves at a rapid pace, and opinions soon change, so is Sargeant heading for a second career rejection from Vowles, one which would be music to the ears of Schumacher? Watch this space…perhaps.