Sebastian Vettel’s decision to retire at the end of 2022 has opened Pandora’s box in the Formula 1 driver market, as it now seems Ferrari will let Mick Schumacher go.
Reports have emerged claiming that Mick Schumacher’s contract with Ferrari Driver Academy will not be renewed at the end of 2022, making the German a free agent, as Motorsport quoted a source claiming the relationship will come to a “natural end” come the end of this season.
Schumacher’s position at Haas – where Ferrari placed him to gain experience – is far from secure, with Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto stating that he will hold talks with the Haas boss regarding Schumacher’s future.
“He [Mick] has improved in the last few races. But it’s too early to make a judgement,” Binotto Sky Sports F1. “We will sit down with Guenther and make a decision,” he said.
Mick Schumacher is now being linked with seats at Williams and Alpine.
How did it all start?
While the F1 world was still talking about Sebastian Vettel’s retirement, Aston Martin announced that Fernando Alonso will be replacing the German from 2023 onwards.
That initiated a domino effect throughout the paddock as the F1 Silly Season was in full swing, especially when Alpine announced that Oscar Piastri would be promoted to replace Alonso, something the Australian refuted, insisting he will not be driving for the French team in 2023.
As it turned out, Piastri’s management, namely former F1 diver Mark Webber has approached McLaren seeking a drive for his young charge in place of the struggling Daniel Ricciardo.
That started a legal battle between Alpine and McLaren as both claimed they have valid contract for Piastri’s services, as they both resorted to the FIA’s Contract Recognition Board (CRB) to settle the dispute.
However, reports now claim, that even if they win the case, Alpine no longer want Piastri to drive for them, and are looking for a driver to fill the vacant seat alongside Esteban Ocon, with a list of driver potentially in the running, Daniel Ricciardo to name one.
Schumacher to Alpine?
Esteban Ocon said he would like to have Schumacher, his friend driving alongside him, and was quoted by Sky Sports F1 saying: “I completely trust Laurent [Rossi, Alpine CEO] and Otmar [Szafnauer, team principal] and the bosses, they are going to be pretty busy. I’m sure they received hundred calls for that seat!
“What I would like is for Mick to race with me, that’s clear because he’s my good friend. But I’ll let them decide,” he added.
That could be a possibility given the reports about Schumacher and Ferrari parting ways, but what may complicate matters is that Alpine might be interested in acquiring the services of Pierre Gasly.
The Frenchman might have been off the market as per the claims of Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko, but it seems the Austrian has had a change of heart recently, now willing to release Gasly if the suitable sum of money is being offered to Red Bull.
Granted Piastri will head to McLaren, and with Gasly becoming potentially free to move, the only remaining vacant seats in F1 will be at Alpine, AlphaTauri, Haas, and Williams, as Nicholas Latifi may yet lose his drive with the Grove outfit.
Mick Schumacher, Pierre Gasly, Daniel Ricciardo, are contenders, while Antonio Giovinazzo emerged as a possible option for Haas in 2023 keeping in mind he will be given an F1 outing in FP1 in Austin.
Reports also claim that Marko may be interested in giving American Colton Herta a shot at AlphaTauri should Gasly leave the team.
Needless to say, we will be having an interesting Silly Season to say the least.
The end of Schumacher’s Ferrari dream?
Schumacher was contracted to the FDA back in 2019 with the target to develop the son of Michael Schumacher to eventually become a Ferrari driver like his father.
After spending two years in F1 with Haas, not setting the world alight in all honesty, it seems that time for the German is up with the American team as well as FDA with his future in F1 still uncertain as we stand.
Regardless where he ends up, will Schumacher be able to find his way back to Ferrari in the future? Or will the Ferrari dream be over?