Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is aware that the Silver Arrows could be forced into allowing new reserve driver Mick Schumacher to leave so that he can “have a career”, with the Germans unlikely to have a vacant seat until 2026.
Following speculation that Lewis Hamilton is set to sign a new deal that’ll see him race for Mercedes in 2024 and 2025, Schumacher will likely need to leave the Brackley-based team in order to race in the sport again, unless he wants a career as a reserve driver.
Schumacher was snapped up by the Silver Arrows shortly after the conclusion of the 2022 season, with the German driver having been replaced by Nico Hulkenberg at Haas.
Being Mercedes’ reserve driver for 2023, though, is by no means a bad move, with the German likely to get plenty of opportunities to drive the team’s 2023 challenger.
This will give other teams a chance to see what the 23-year-old can do with a strong package, something which could save his career.
He’s expressed his intent on returning to the grid in 2024; however, to do so he’ll need to leave Mercedes.
Given how highly Wolff rates him, the Austrian would likely support Schumacher in trying to find a seat for 2024, with the Austrian knowing that the team may need to release the German so he can return to a full-time seat.
Despite being aware of this, Wolff is confident that the Silver Arrows can provide a “safe environment” to help the son of Michael Schumacher “further develop”, in what is a partnership that’ll be watched closely.
“I believe that if we can provide him with a safe environment to develop further, he can be a good driver in a full-time seat in the future,” Wolff is quoted by the Dutch publication Formule 1.
“We had to let Nyck go in the same way for him to have a career, now that could also happen with Mick,” he added.
“Whether it’s with our team or whether we have to let him go, we don’t know yet.”
Although Gunther Steiner has said Schumacher was not even considered for the reserve seat at Haas this year, Wolff insists the German is a major new asset to Mercedes.
“He will contribute enormously,” said the Austrian.
“He has already driven the new cars and has been in Formula 1 for two years. He will be super helpful in the simulator and in making judgements about the car.
“It will be good to have him at the track and in the debriefs.”