Mick Schumacher‘s F1 career is over, at least for now, after Haas announced they’re replacing him with Nico Hulkenberg for 2023.
It wasn’t a clear-cut decision after a mixed season for the 23-year-old, but Guenther Steiner and Gene Haas have clearly decided that Hulkenberg‘s consistency is worth sacrificing Schumacher‘s youth and long-term potential.
Right now, things don’t look great for Schumacher. He’s had two seasons of F1 where he’s failed to set the world alight but has shown promise at times and kept it clean since May, so there should be offers on the table for his service in 2023 and beyond.
He’s been linked with an Audi F1 seat when they join the sport in 2026 but looking in the short-term for now, we’ve picked out some of the best options still available for the Schumacher in 2023.
Schumacher‘s best – and only realistic – shot at a 2023 F1 drive, this would be contingent on the season finale of F2.
Williams has announced Logan Sargeant will Nicholas Latifi‘s seat provided he can get the required super licence points at the final F2 round in Abu Dhabi.
He needs either fifth or sixth place in the championship but it’s incredibly tight he’s only nine points ahead of sixth and just 25 ahead of tenth, so he’ll need to keep it clean under pressure to the seat.
Sargeant‘s a class act and should get the drive but if he misses out, Williams will have a seat to fill and not many experienced options to fill it with. Given Daniel Ricciardo‘s seemingly ruled himself of a drive next season and super-sub Hulkenberg has earned himself a starting berth, Schumacher would be the obvious choice.
It would be a great option for Schumacher, this year’s car has been more driver-friendly and Alex Albon would be a good measuring stick.
Schumacher has improved after a tough start in 2022 and has been outperforming Kevin Magnussen in the second half of the season, if he could carry that momentum into 2023 it could be a rebirth to his long-term prospects, though Williams will surely want Sargeant in the seat for 2024.
Schumacher was dropped by the Ferrari Driver Academy in a move that marked the beginning of the end of the start of his F1 career.
However, the history of the Schumacher name at Ferrari could be too much to ignore. The prancing horse is set to once again challenge for overall victory at Le Mans, as they announced they’ll compete in the hypercar class of the World Endurance Championship from 2023.
Entering alongside AF Corse – a partnership which has netted four GT Pro wins at the Circuit de la Sarthe – they revealed the 499P in October.
There’s six spaces available across two cars in 2023, and though Ferrari have a quality stable of endurance drivers including the likes of James Calado and Antonio Fuocco, there’s been no driver announcements so far.
Schumacher has the pace and work ethic to be competitive in sportscars, and if he can retain his reserve driver role with Ferrari then he’d have a foot in the F1 paddock too.
This may not be a long-term strategy if Schumacher still seems himself in F1 but it seems a win for every party involved if they can strike a deal.
Another huge F1 juggernaut that’s expanding to another series, the Neom McLaren Formula E team will compete for the first time in mid-January.
They’re the only Formula E team with a space still available for 2023, as Rene Rast‘s teammate is yet to be announced.
For a team with such a large stable of drivers, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious name out there to fill that seat, and being part of an ambitious motorsport heavyweight in FE could eventually open up a route back to F1 for Schumacher – just ask Nyck de Vries.
As for McLaren, they know Schumacher‘s quality and he’d provide a good contrast to the veteran Rast.
Red Bull and Mercedes have both been linked with Daniel Ricciardo for their test driver roles, Red Bull look closer to signing the Australian but let’s roll with them for now as they could provide some good long-term options for Schumacher.
If Schumacher does land with Mercedes it would definitely be a good back-up plan, but there’s no obvious route back to a full-time F1 drive.
However, he could become the immediate junior focal point for the Silver Arrows. Aged 23, Schumacher is still young enough to be in that category and there’s little pressure from the rest of Mercedes’ academy.
Frederik Vesti is the only driver with immediate prospects of stepping up but sitting eighth in his rookie year of F2, he’d still hope to challenge for the title next year to prove himself.
The prodigious Andrea Kimi Antonelli could be the next dominant player in feeder series but he’s still a long way off F1 – he completed his first full season of F4 in 2022 – and Paul Arons’ career has stalled with three straight years in the level below F3.
The other option is Red Bull, current reserve driver Liam Lawson could be more limited in that role as he heads to Super Formula for 2023 and despite his age, Schumacher would bring a wealth of experience to the role plus his reputation as a good team player.
And it could provide a step back up to F1, as despite Red Bull‘s reputation for developing young talent their larder is currently pretty bare.
Dennis Hauger is the obvious next contender for an AlphaTauri seat but he sits eleventh in F2 with one round to go and has regularly finished outside the points, he’ll need a big improvement next year and has stepped down from powerhouse Prema to MP Motorsport.
Isack Hadjar will make his F2 debut in 2023 and Red Bull think he can be in F1 by 2024 but that’s a big ask for anyone, and Hadjar‘s never won a championship.
So there’s seemingly a shortage of options and AlphaTauri running De Vries, Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat on their books in recent years has shown they’re willing to bring in experience if youth hasn’t proven itself.
That could mean Schumacher in 2024 if he impresses and De Vries or Yuki Tsunoda falter.
This is a long shot, but could be a possibility if all else fails.
It’d be a top single-seater driver, albeit with no direct contact with the F1 paddock, but Romain Grosjean, Marcus Ericsson, Christian Lundgaard and Callum Ilott have all made the jump from senior formula racing to IndyCar in the past few years.
Schumacher could even form a former-Ferrari-Driver-Academy-Superteam (though the branding would need some work) with Ilott at Juncos Hollinger Racing.