Mick Schumacher? Williams want a driver who will ‘fight’ Alex Albon

Logan Sargeant is the favourite to take the vacant Williams seat, if he can finish in the top six of the Formula 2 standings.

Last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix saw ‘silly season’ draw ever closer to an end for another year, as Pierre Gasly was announced as Alpine’s new driver for 2023 and Nyck de Vries was confirmed as the Frenchman’s replacement at AlphaTauri.

It means that just two seats remain on the 2023 grid, one at Haas and one at Williams, with both being somewhat predictable as to who they will go to.

Starting with Haas, the Americans have seemingly switched their favourite option at every Grand Prix since the summer break, with the Americans at one point having been considering Daniel Ricciardo, Antonio Giovinazzi, Nico Hulkenberg, and Mick Schumacher.

However, it is now believed to be a straight fight between Hulkenberg and Schumacher, with the latter hoping to retain his seat for a third year.

READ: ‘This paddock is gossip’: Alex Albon opens up on Red Bull’s role in Williams move

Hulkenberg had become the favourite for the seat alongside Kevin Magnussen, but reports are suggesting that Haas are going to sit down with Schumacher over a contract extension.

Haas are set to make an announcement at the United States Grand Prix next weekend; however, it’s unsure what is exactly going to be announced.

Schumacher’s uncle, ex-F1 driver Ralf Schumacher, is hopeful that the team will extend his nephew’s contract, with the 23-year-old’s improvement being “clear”.

“I believe both sides have a future together and should take advantage of what they have been working on for almost two years,” he told Sky Deutschland.

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“I think Haas is a team that is slowly moving in the right direction, although it’s uncertain how much budget will be available for next season and what the engine will be like.

“But the improvement from Mick’s side is clear.”

Should Haas not decide to retain Schumacher, then the German has a chance at Nicholas Latifi’s vacant Williams seat for next season.

Schumacher is a contender for the seat at the backmarker side, although, he isn’t the favourite.

Formula 2 and Williams academy driver Logan Sargeant is the bookies favourite to take the place of Latifi alongside Alex Albon next season.

Latifi actually enjoyed his best result of the season last weekend at Suzuka, where he claimed a ninth-place finish in the wet.

Whilst it was one of his best F1 drives in general, he doesn’t think a “single good result” would’ve saved his career at Williams.

“If a decision hadn’t already been made about my future, I don’t think a race like this would have changed things much,” he said after finishing ninth at Suzuka.

“It’s mostly about consistency throughout the year, not a single good result.”

Williams are actually relying on a lot of outside factors for next season, with Sargeant not yet having enough points on his superlicence to become an F1 driver.

To become eligible for an F1 seat, the young American needs to finish in the top six of the F2 standings, something he is on track to do at the season finale.

Sargeant currently occupies third; however, anything can happen in F2.

If he fails to claim a top six in the F2 Drivers’ Championship, then it will presumably be Schumacher’s seat to take, unless he is retained by Haas prior to the season finale.

Should this happen then it’ll be fascinating who the Grove-based team will sign, with Hulkenberg perhaps being a backup option.

The main thing for Williams’ head of vehicle performance Dave Robson is that whoever they sign to replace Latifi must be “fighting” Albon “every race”, which might open the door to an experienced driver should either Sargeant or Schumacher be unavailable.

READ: Ex-F1 driver criticises Pierre Gasly for Japanese GP controversy

“We need someone who’s be fighting with Alex in every race. Ideally someone who is after similar traits from the car.

“We’ll see where we go but all we want to do is have two competitive cars pushing each other into Q2, Q3 and beyond.

“But we don’t take too much notice of the speculation for next year. Yes, there’s preparations going on in the background but really, Jost (Capito) is dealing with that.”