Mick Schumacher’s Formula 1 career is at the risk of ending before it’s really gotten underway, with the German at risk of losing his seat at Haas.
The 23-year-old is currently without a contract for 2023, with his deal at Haas set to expire following the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Despite having improved in the second half of the season, the German is believed to only have a “50/50 chance” of being offered a new contract by the American team.
Haas boss Guenther Steiner is known to have spoken to Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hulkenberg and Antonio Giovinazzi about the prospect of taking Schumacher’s seat; however, the Italian has admitted that the son of Michael Schumacher still has time to prove himself to the Americans.
Whilst Schumacher has improved considerably in the second half of the year, his heavy crashes at the Saudi Arabian and Monaco Grand Prix appear to still be held against him.
His relationship with the team is also a question mark, with Steiner having spoken negatively about the Haas driver on a few occasions in public this season.
Should he not be re-signed by Haas, then it appears that Williams is his only other option.
Alpine look set to sign Pierre Gasly, Nyck de Vries will probably then be signed by AlphaTauri as the Frenchman’s replacement, and Guanyu Zhou looks certain to stay at Alfa Romeo.
Schumacher isn’t the favourite for the Williams seat, with that honour appearing to go to Formula 2 and Williams academy driver Logan Sargeant; however, the American must finish in the top six of the standings to gain enough superlicence points to compete in F1.
The American looks set to do this, with him currently occupying third.
Formula 1’s managing director, Ross Brawn is very much hoping Schumacher is on the grid next season, after revealing that he believes the German has “improved considerably” and is ready for the “next step”.
“Mick has improved enormously this year,” Brawn told SPORT1.
“He has a really good reference in Kevin Magnussen as a team-mate and he is now at an important crossroads in his career. He certainly deserves to take the next step in his career. And that’s what he’ll be judged on then.”
With Schumacher’s father, of course, being a seven-time World Champion, some have tried to compare the pair’s career paths.
Since Michael’s debut, the sport has changed considerably, with Brawn believing the pair have slightly different approaches to their racing, but that there is no doubt the Haas driver is “very talented”.
“He’s different from his father, who was always on the limit straight away,” added Brawn.
“Mick takes a bit longer, but in the end he won the titles in the junior classes.
“He’s very talented, has 100% adopted the work ethic from his father and is extremely capable of improving. That’s crucial.”
Schumacher isn’t the only driver on the grid whose father competed in F1, with Max Verstappen’s father, Jos having also competed in the series.
Brawn thinks the big difference between the two is that Michael was known around the world as a winner and a seven-time World Champion, whilst Jos never accomplished anything like what Michael did.
With this in mind, the former Ferrari boss thinks this actually puts the 23-year-old under more pressure than the reigning World Champion to perform, with Verstappen not having to accomplish much to eclipse his father.
“Max’s big advantage over Mick is that his father was also a hero in the Netherlands but he didn’t win, wasn’t a seven-time World Champion and isn’t an icon like Michael is in Germany,” said Brawn.
“Of course, this increases the pressure on Mick even more.”