Mick Schumacher drives his father’s Ferrari F2003-GA in October
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Mick Schumacher has boosted his chances of securing an F1 comeback by agreeing to become McLaren’s reserve driver in 2023, mirroring his identical role with Mercedes. The 23-year-old – son of legendary F1 driver Michael Schumacher – failed to find a permanent seat last year after being axed by Haas.
Schumacher’s F1 debut season was a character building one, with neither he nor his former team-mate Nikita Mazepin notching any points as Haas trailed dramatically behind the rest of the pack in terms of performance.
Things picked up in 2022 but Schumacher still finished with a disappointing 12-point haul, representing less than half of the total amassed by team-mate Kevin Magnussen. Haas boss Guenther Steiner opted to go in a different direction for the coming season, with Nico Hulkenberg poised to step in, leaving Schumacher to take up a reserve driver role with Mercedes.
As of Wednesday, the youngster has also been confirmed as McLaren’s reserve driver for the 2023 season. The two teams have struck similar agreements in the past, with the Silver Arrows’ former reserve, Nyck de Vries, also on standby during Lando Norris’ illness last year.
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Schumacher will be spurred into action by McLaren or Mercedes next season if any of their starting drivers are unavailable for any reason. “McLaren will be able to call on Mick Schumacher as a reserve driver during the 2023 F1 season as part of our arrangement with Mercedes,” read a short statement on Twitter. “Welcome to the family, Mick.
“McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella worked closely with Mick’s father, the legendary Michael Schumacher, as his Performance Engineer.” Signing with a second team should only boost Schumacher’s chances of securing a fully-fledged return to the F1 grid, as he will be twice as likely to get out on track and show what he can do.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff claimed that he would be open to letting Schumacher vacate his post with the Silver Arrows if a permanent opportunity came up elsewhere. With Lewis Hamilton and George Russell both settled, the likelihood is that Schumacher’s prospective comeback would likely be facilitated by another team.
Photos of Schumacher getting his seat fitted ahead of the new season were shared by Mercedes on Tuesday evening. The former Haas star is following in his father’s footsteps by joining the team, with the seven-time world champion racing for the Silver Arrows for three seasons at the end of his career.
“The most important factor is his personality,” explained Wolff once the deal was signed. “He’s a well-educated, intelligent and talented young man. You can see his junior career track record was very good and I believe that if we can give him a safe environment to further develop, he can be a good racing driver in a permanent seat in the future.”
Before his agreement with McLaren was confirmed, Schumacher added: “I take this as a new start, and I am just excited and grateful to Toto [Wolff] and everybody involved for putting their trust in me. F1 is such a fascinating world, and you never stop learning, so I look forward to absorbing more knowledge and putting in all my efforts for the benefit of the Mercedes team.”
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