Following much speculation, it was finally confirmed on Wednesday morning by Haas that Mick Schumacher won’t be racing for the team in 2023, with the 23-year-old being replaced by fellow German Nico Hulkenberg.
It was highly anticipated that Schumacher was going to be dropped by the Americans, with the side opting to go for experience over youth for 2023.
Hulkenberg hasn’t raced full-time in F1 since 2019 but is still arguably one of the most experienced drivers on the grid, something which is unsurprising given that he is 35 years old.
Schumacher is now expected to become Mercedes’ reserve driver for next season, with the son of Michael Schumacher targeting a comeback in 2024.
The 2020 F2 World Champion released an open letter to his fans on social media confirming that he won’t be on the 2023 grid, but that he won’t give up on being back on the grid in the future.
Alpine driver and “good friend” Esteban Ocon commented on the post that he “will comeback”, with the Frenchman having attempted to get the German to be signed by Alpine before they announced Pierre Gasly.
“We all know it’s only a matter of time!! You will comeback,” Ocon commented along with the fist emoji.
Ocon and Schumacher are known very well to be good friends, with the duo often seen together inside and outside the paddock.
Speaking to the media ahead of the Abu Dhabi GP, Ocon added that he is certain Schumacher will return as he “will obviously work hard”.
The French driver knows all too well how hard it is to return to the spot, after being without a seat in 2019.
“He will be back I believe,” the Frenchman said.
“He will obviously work hard with his team to come back.
“I’ve been out of sport and I know how it feels after two years to go out. But you know, the work, hard dedication and just being here each time there was a kind of [opportunity] that’s the thing that brought me back to the sport and I’m sure he will have a shot again.”
As mentioned, Ocon really did attempt to get Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer to sign Schumacher for 2023, after admitting that if he were allowed to pick his team-mate, the Haas driver would be “my choice”.
“People know that my choice if I had anything to say would be Mick, if he doesn’t have anything lined up next year,” Ocon said during the Dutch Grand Prix weekend.