Esteban Ocon’s one-word answer on Mick Schumacher’s F1 future

Mick Schumacher finished 19th and 16th in two F1 seasons with Haas and now drives for Mercedes and Alpine

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Esteban Ocon believes Mick Schumacher deserves another chance in Formula 1 after his failed two-year stint at Haas, with the Mercedes reserve one of the drivers rumoured to replace Lewis Hamilton after his departure for Ferrari.

Schumacher failed to build on a somewhat promising first season in F1 in 2022, partnering Kevin Magnussen for the Dane’s last-minute return to the team and ending the season with less than half the points of Magnussen.

He also had several heavy and high-profile crashes but after a year on the sidelines at Brackley, he’ll now combine his Mercedes testing duties with a full-time Alpine drive in car #36 of the World Endurance Championship.

“Yes,” Ocon told media including Total-Motorsport.com at Alpine‘s F1 and WEC launch. “He does deserve a place in Formula 1, that is clear. Because he’s proved, he’s Formula 3 champion, Formula 2 champion.

“He’s had two years in the back of the midfield car, you need time to prove yourself in F1, learn things and for sure he deserves a seat in F1. He’s one of the most talented drivers out there and for sure deserves it.”

In his junior career, Schumacher showed a tendency to come good in his sophomore year of a series, as he finished 12th in both European F3 and F2 before winning both championships a year later, but his first year at Haas was somewhat wasted in an uncompetitive car alongside Nikita Mazepin.

He also improved alongside Magnussen in the second half of 2022 notwithstanding a costly crash at Suzuka, but relations had already soured with then-team principal Guenther Steiner by that point .

Schumacher also broke his long-term partnership with the Ferrari Driver Academy to sign with Mercedes, but joining with Alpine means he’s now driving for his father Michael‘s third former team.

“It’s fantastic for the Alpine Endurance team first of all,” Ocon added. “To have Mick I think he’s bringing a lot of experience, expertise and he’s obviously a very, very talented driver in general.

“And I really hope that they are going to be winning Le Mans this year, I’ll be supporting, cheering for them and I want to see Mick in Formula One in the near future again.”

Ocon predicts F1-Le Mans joint season

Alpine A424 Hypercar

Ocon added that he hopes a driver will look to combine F1 with a tilt at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and said that could open the floodgates to more attempting the double in future.

Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso have both won Le Mans while completing an F1 season, with Hulkenberg even finding time for a six-hour tune-up race at Spa beforehand, but it would a whole new logistical challenge now.

In 2024, Le Mans sits between the Canadian and Spanish GPs, but that would mean any driver attempting it would only have two non-racing weekends from mid-May to the end of July.

Ocon was present for the reveal of Alpine‘s A424 Hypercar that will take on the 2024 WEC season, moments before his F1 car was also unveiled, and was clearly impressed by Schumacher‘s machinery.

“It looks mega, I have to say,” Ocon added. “The focus is always 2,000% on Formula One, but I think as soon as one F1 driver will do Le Mans while the F1 season is going, many more drivers would do so. I’m waiting for that moment, see what happens.”

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