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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Toto Wolff hints Mick Schumacher could be given Mercedes lifeline for 2023 season

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Mercedes principal Toto Wolff has hinted that the manufacturer might give Mick Schumacher a lifeline, if the German loses his seat with Haas.

Haas are the only F1 team yet to confirm their full line-up ahead of next year but Schumacher’s failure to pick up championship points in the last 10 races could see him replaced. Mercedes will be looking to recruit a reserve driver during the winter with Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne set to leave the team before next year.

Michael Schumacher, father of Mick, won five of his seven world titles with Ferrari but spent the last two years of his illustrious career with Mercedes.

“I make no secret of the fact that the Schumacher family belongs to Mercedes and that we appreciate Mick very much,” Wolff told reporters.

Haas boss Guenther Steiner has been criticised for making Schumacher wait so long to find out his future for next season. It is believed that the team aRE considering replacing the 23-year-old with the experienced Nico Hulkenberg.

After finishing 13th at last weekend’s Brazilian GP, Schumacher said that he might have to look elsewhere to stay in F1. He said: “I don’t know if I’ll be in Formula 1 next year, but I think I deserve it. If Haas doesn’t want to continue with me, I will look at other options to restart my F1 career in 2024. This is where I want to be. It’s my sanctuary.”

Mick Schumacher could be replaced by Haas for the 2023 season
LAT Photo/Haas F1 Team)

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Mercedes have also been in discussion with Daniel Ricciardo about a reserve driver’s position next season after the 33-year-old saw his contract at McLaren ended a year early amid struggling form this season. However, rivals Red Bull are also interested in acquiring the services of the popular Australian who says that ‘nothing is done’ yet.

“Daniel is speaking to a few teams about a potential role, also with Red Bull,” Wolff added. “For us, we very much like him, he’s a great character, but we are not in a position to decide who’s going to be the third driver.

“(He would bring) personality and he’s been around for a long time, he knows these cars inside out and that can be really advantageous. But I don’t want to put any rumours out there because we haven’t decided.”

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