Mick Schumacher, who lost his race seat with Haas at the end of last year, has been signed as a reserve driver for Mercedes in 2023. Both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have praised Schumacher for the valuable contribution he has made in the simulator to improve race weekend progress. Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, has expressed his delight with Schumacher’s input but also expressed his desire to see the young German return to a full-time drive.
Recently, Helmut Marko, the motorsport advisor for Red Bull, brought Wolff‘s influence into question by claiming that he tried to arrange a meeting with Red Bull CEO Oliver Mintzlaff to discuss the possibility of Schumacher joining AlphaTauri. Marko revealed in an interview with German television channel Sport1 that Wolff made this offer while openly campaigning against Red Bull at the FIA. This led to the topic being discarded as Marko questioned why Red Bull should take Schumacher when he is a Mercedes driver and suggested that Wolff should give him a seat in his own team or use his influence to secure him a drive with a customer team like Williams.
Wolff, on the other hand, is puzzled by the attitude others have towards Schumacher. He believes that Schumacher has shown his true potential this year despite facing difficulties at Haas. When asked how Mercedes could help Schumacher secure a full-time race seat, Wolff expressed uncertainty, stating that every time they speak positively about Schumacher, someone feels the need to say something negative. He also clarified that he never discussed giving Schumacher a place at Red Bull with their leadership. Wolff respects each team’s authority to decide on their drivers but would not hesitate to put Schumacher in one of his own race seats if either Hamilton or Russell were unavailable.
Wolff emphasized the importance of providing a supportive environment for young drivers like Schumacher, acknowledging that he endured a challenging season last year. He believes that different drivers require different environments and frameworks to thrive, and he is confident that whoever gives Schumacher an opportunity will benefit from his undeniable talent. Despite Schumacher’s valuable contribution in the simulator, Wolff made it clear that he would prefer to see the young driver back on the F1 grid rather than serving as a reserve. He praised Schumacher’s maturity, success, and experience as an F1 driver, which greatly benefits Mercedes in the simulator and in case of unexpected circumstances where a replacement driver is needed.
Ultimately, Wolff‘s goal is to see Schumacher racing, as he believes the young German deserves a seat in the cockpit. While Mercedes benefits from Schumacher’s presence as a reserve driver, Wolff stated that he would prefer to see him actively competing in the sport. Schumacher’s development and feedback have proven to be advantageous for the team, particularly at European grands prix where he has assisted in providing data for race weekends. However, Wolff reiterated that if given the choice, he would prioritize Schumacher’s race seat over his current role as a reserve driver.