Mick Schumacher was lucky to secure a reserve driver role with Mercedes after he was made redundant by the Haas team and his long-time backer Ferrari, while he won’t be on the grid in 2023 he will be in the Formula 1 picture which Norbert Haug reckons is a good thing.
Motorsport legend, and former Mercedes boss Haug believes the move comes at a fortunate time for the son of legend Michael Schumacher and wrote as much in his column for RND: “In my opinion, this is indeed a stroke of luck for Mick, and Mercedes did very well to sign a German driver into its F1 team.
“Nothing is impossible if Mick concentrates, works diligently, and is willing to learn about the tasks assigned to him, which is exactly what I assume he will do, seize this opportunity to learn and train with the very best and make the most of it.
“If everything works out as the parties involved imagine, then anything is possible for Mick. But, first of all, the following applies: keep your head down, talk little and work all the more and all the harder and learn a lot in the process,” advised Haug.
The veteran motorsport man perhaps referencing the over-eagerness to get Mick into F1 no matter what, resulting in two seasons with the Haas F1 team, funded by Ferrari, which (history showed) all but destroyed the young man’s career, and certainly sullied his reputation.
Late in the season last year, when the news emerged that he was dumped by Ferrari, no one wanted Mick. Three teams with new drivers for the forthcoming season opted for rookies and a returning journeyman instead.
But Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was watching all this and clearly believes Mick can become a better driver in the Silver Arrows fold, watching at close quarters as one of the greatest drivers of this era – Lewis Hamilton – goes about his craft, while keeping an eye on the F1 benchmark for the future – George Russell – does business.
And who knows, in this volatile world where COVID remains an uncertain threat, coupled with a record-long F1 season ahead, Mick may indeed get a call-up to show what he has with one of the biggest teams on the grid; and if that doesn’t happen he is at least in the frame to be considered to step up when Hamilton decides to call it quits, which could be three or four years down the road…
Mercedes could even be a step up in Mick’s F1 career which crashed at Haas
Whatever the case, Schumacher sees his future being in F1 with no desire to race in any other series, even if it is to stay race-fit: “I’m not interested in driving anything other than F1. Once you’ve tasted the best, you don’t want to settle for anything less. I will give everything to contribute to the performance of the team in this very competitive and professional environment.
“I see this as a new beginning and I am very grateful to Toto and everyone involved for the trust they place in me. I will be 99 percent at all races next season to position myself to be back on the grid in 2024,” declared the 23-year-old German.
For Mercedes, Wolff explained the value of his new signing: “Mick is a very talented young driver, a hard worker with a calm and methodical approach. He is hungry to learn and improve as a driver. These are all important qualities for us and we look forward to him helping us further develop the W14.
We also know that with two years of experience in F1, he will be able to fill in for Lewis or George at short notice should the need arise,” added Wolff.
For now, Schumacher has 43 Grand Prix starts on his CV, it is not hard to imagine that figure growing, by how much only time and luck will tell.