Helmut Marko hilariously fires back with Mick Schumacher jibe

Mick Schumacher has very limited options if he wants to return to the F1 grid next season, following his dismissal from Haas.

Mercedes reserve driver Mick Schumacher is very keen to return to the Formula 1 grid in 2024, but is that even a possibility for the 2020 Formula 2 World Champion?

Schumacher has spent 2023 behind-the-scenes at Mercedes as their third driver, with the German having been key to the Silver Arrows’ simulator sessions.

The ex-Haas driver has spent several nights working on improvements for George Russell and Lewis Hamilton in the simulator, something he’s received praise for as recently as the British Grand Prix.

Being a reserve isn’t what Schumacher truly wants though, with him wanting to be back on the grid.

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He found himself at Mercedes this season after Haas opted not to offer him a new contract for 2023, with the American outfit instead deciding to let Schumacher go at the conclusion of his deal for last season.

Schumacher’s time at Haas was extremely difficult, given how often he was on the receiving end of public criticism from team principal Guenther Steiner.

The duo’s relationship turned sour and has remained frosty since Schumacher’s departure, meaning unless something bizarre happens, he’ll never race for Haas again.

Mercedes is another team where a seat won’t be available for Schumacher anytime soon, given that Hamilton and Russell are contracted until the end of 2025.

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Ferrari are also extremely unlikely to re-sign the son of Michael Schumacher, who they dropped from their driver academy at the end of 2022.

Red Bull are another team who seemingly aren’t keen to sign the German to replace Sergio Perez, with advisor Dr Helmut Marko having laughed at the idea.

Marko’s comment came after Schumacher’s uncle, ex-F1 driver Ralf Schumacher, insisted that Perez should be dropped.

“Hopefully he didn’t mean that Mick Schumacher would have to replace him,” Marko said, as reported by The Telegraph.

Red Bull sister team AlphaTauri is another side off the table it seems, despite Schumacher having been linked to them last season.

Marko has insisted that the Red Bull programme rewards “performance”, with “marketing” not being a priority.

“Our programme is based on performance, not on marketing,” said Marko.

There are only really two options for Schumacher if he wants to return to the sport before 2026, and that’s at either Alfa Romeo or Williams.

For 2024 though, both also look like an unlikely destination for the 24-year-old, with Alfa Romeo expected to offer Zhou Guanyu a new deal.

Even if Zhou isn’t offered a new contract, F2 championship leader Theo Pourchaire would be the most likely option, given that he’s a Sauber academy driver.

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Williams, too, are reportedly keen to give rookie Logan Sargeant another season, despite him having still not achieved one top-10 finish.

Schumacher’s best chance to return to the grid appears to be in 2026, with Audi supposedly being keen to have the German star for their debut season.

Should that be the case, then Schumacher’s best bet to remain in the F1 paddock is seemingly to stay as Mercedes’ reserve driver, a role which comes with limited time on track.