Schumacher ‘deserves to be on the grid’ says Wolff as he weighs up prospects for German’s race return
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has discussed the future prospects of the team’s reserve driver Mick Schumacher, arguing that the youngster deserves another shot on the F1 grid as he has not yet been able to show his “high potential” in the sport.
Schumacher started his F1 journey with Haas in 2021 and 2022 but was replaced in the hot seat by fellow German Nico Hulkenberg for the 2023 season and subsequently took on a back-up role at the Silver Arrows.
While the majority of seats on the 2024 grid have already been confirmed, some are yet to be firmed up, and Schumacher – who previously spoke of some interest in his services – is keen to secure a return to action.
As the so-called ‘silly season’ rumbles on, Wolff was asked about Schumacher’s options and specifically a possible opening at Williams, with the Grove outfit yet to confirm whether Logan Sargeant will remain alongside Alex Albon for a second term.
“I think he deserves to be on the grid,” Wolff said of Schumacher. “The moment you’re not feeling confident in a car for a long period, the more pressure you put on yourself, the less good you perform, and I think this happened at Haas.
“He’s quick. If you win F3 and F2, there is high potential in you, and he was never able to show it. I'm glad we have a third driver that I know will do the job if one of ours eats a bad fish!
“But the contribution in the simulator is tremendous and that makes us sometimes do these big jumps from Friday to Saturday because he’s driving his socks off overnight.”
Speaking of Williams, Wolff also offered some words of praise to former Mercedes strategy chief James Vowles, who has enjoyed a fine start to life as the legendary squad’s Team Principal – guiding them to seventh in the constructors’ championship as things stand.
“I mean, Williams deserves to be racing at the sharp end and they’re doing a good job,” added Wolff. “We’ve seen that it’s an efficient car and it’s fast when it’s fast, but Zandvoort is a high downforce track and they [were] still there.
“I take a certain degree of pleasure, pride, when I see them performing so well, but obviously it needs to stop now because we don’t want them to have further help!”