Ralf Schumacher has backed Mick Schumacher to retain his Haas seat for 2023 and said the team have no alternative to his nephew.
Mick’s F1 future hangs in the balance with Haas yet to announce whether he will stay on past 2022, with Nico Hulkenberg, Antonio Giovinazzi and
“Mick has done everything he needs to do to drive for Haas in Formula 1 in 2023,” Ralf told Sky Sports ahead of the 2022 Mexican Grand Prix.
“Gene Haas and Guenther Steiner will also think about it properly and then realise that there is no alternative to Mick. Daniel Ricciardo is not one and Nico Hulkenberg is already on his way towards retirement rather than uprooting trees again.
“Based on his performances and improvements this year, you can see how much potential can still be expected from Mick. Accordingly, there is no alternative to him.”
Costs mounting up
While Ralf was bullish about Mick’s chances, the words coming out of the Haas camp have been decidedly less decisive.
Ahead of the US Grand Prix, team owner Gene Haas scolded his driver for having too many crashes, and said it has prevented the team from developing the car by demanding more of the budget cap for repairs.
Mick had two shunts in Saudi Arabia and Monaco at the beginning of the season – the latter a car-splitting crash that shook his confidence – but had been doing better since the summer break until a crash after FP1 at Suzuka.
Steiner was fuming at the £450k crash and has since said the second Haas seat is 50-50 between Schumacher and Hulkenberg.
Antonio Giovinazzi is inexplicably also in the frame and was given an FP1 session in Austin, but crashed in that which won’t have helped his chances.
“Steiner has recently become much more conciliatory in many ways – also in Austin,” Ralf continued. “One thing is clear: we all want Mick to drive in Formula 1 next year, he’s shown the performance.
“And above all, Mick is already in his third F1 year, the car has been developed very well. Due to the cost cap, the other teams will not make any big jumps.
“Continuity would therefore be important for both parties, because 2023 would be the year where you can reap the fruits of your own work and celebrate even greater successes together.
“Mick has once again proven that he has a strong race pace. In Austin he was super strong and long time ahead of Kevin Magnussen. But then it went backwards.
“However, Guenther Steiner assessed the situation properly. He said that Mick was very fast for a long time, but then his race became difficult for various reasons. He defended Mick, which I think is great.”