Formula One

Wolff sees potential of F1 comeback for Schumacher

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says that Mick Schumacher’s new role as reserve and development driver could help the German find his way back into F1 in future, in a similar manner to Nyck de Vries.

Former Mercedes protege de Vries won the 2019 Formula 2 championship and went on to the Formula E world title in 2012, but looked as though he had missed out on a potential F1 career.

However taking on a test and reserve driver role for Mercedes, Williams and Aston Martin last year put de Vries in the right place at the right time to make his F1 bow at Monza substituting for an unwell Alex Albon.

As a result of his solid success in the Italian GP, de Vries has finally been handed a full-time race seat at AlphaTauri for 2023, and Wolff can see the same sort of boost reviving Schumacher’s F1 career in future.

Schumacher made his F1 debut in Bahrain at the start of 2021, but was dropped by Haas after 43 race outings with the team at the end of 2022, having been replaced by the more experienced Nico Hulkenberg.

Although not on the grid for the forthcoming season, Schumacher will now undertake development duties at Brackley in support of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

“Where he will massively contribute is that he’s driven the new car for a year. [He] has been in Formula 1 for two years, knows the tyres,” Wolff told select media last week.

Wolff sees potential of F1 comeback for Schumacher

©Mercedes

“He knows the difficulties in the car’s DNA of the current Formula 1 generation of cars,” Wolff continued. “He will be super helpful in the simulator and in assessing the car overall.

“It will be good to have him on track in the debriefing room, and he’s a credible young racing driver,” he added. “We have definitely gained with Mick joining the team,” he stated.

“The most important factor is his personality … He’s a well educated, intelligent and talented young man,” Wolff continued. “His junior career track record was very good.

“I believe if we can give him a safe environment to further develop, he can be a good racing driver in a permanent seat in the future.

“In the same way we have let Nyck de Vries go in order for him to achieve a career, that could be something that could happen to Mick – whether it is in our team or letting him go somewhere else, we don’t know.”

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