It looks as if the writing is on the wall for Mick Schumacher in Formula 1, after qualifying in last place in Brazil following a wet Friday session.
The young German will not be helped by the fact that his teammate Kevin Magnussen qualified in P1, to start from pole in the sprint race and complete a Haas sandwich of first and last.
There are no empty seats left on the grid for Schumacher to take should he be removed from his seat at Haas, and it looks as if a reserve driver role at either Mercedes or Alpine could be the only way for the 23-year-old to remain in the sport for next year.
Sky Sports commentator and former F1 driver Martin Brundle has advised Schumacher to take a reserve role should an opportunity present itself, suggesting that it may benefit the driver in the long term, while questioning Haas’ decision making.
“Maybe a year out and being a reserve driver, learning and coming back might be good for him,” he suggested.
“You could look at Haas and say they’ve got two experienced drivers [in Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg] – where’s your future? What are you building for? A tough call for them.”
Brundle has told fans that they must put Schumacher’s famous surname and rich family history to one side when weighing up the driver’s future in the sport, warning them not to let their opinions be clouded by their fondness for his father Michael Schumacher.
“It seems as if they want to have the two experienced drivers next year. It’s a tough one for Mick,” he said.
“Let’s take some emotion out of it and his surname. Let’s put everything to one side.
“Has he done well enough? Has he got enough speed? He has crashed a lot of cars. Is there enough future with Mick?”
The German driver will be cursing his luck at the tail end of this season, with his race weekends being littered with elements of bad luck ever since his boss Guenther Steiner issued the ultimatum of scoring points to Schumacher.
The 23-year-old picked up damage in Austin and small mistakes combined with mixed conditions in qualifying in both Mexico and Brazil have seen Schumacher eliminated in Q1, leaving him to wonder what he has to do to have any chance of saving his Formula 1 career.
Steiner has hinted that a decision on Haas’ second driver might come before Abu Dhabi, leaving Schumacher’s future in the balance over the next week.