Mick Schumacher’s Comments on Red Bull’s Pace Reignite Rivalry with Mercedes
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has dismissed Helmut Marko’s recent claims that his involvement in politics cost Mick Schumacher a chance with Red Bull for the 2023 Formula 1 season. Schumacher, the son of seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher, currently serves as Mercedes’ reserve driver after losing his race seat with Haas at the end of last year.
Despite Franz Tost, team principal of Red Bull’s B team AlphaTauri, expressing admiration for Schumacher and attempting to sign him, Red Bull management rejected the move. Marko shed more light on the situation, stating that Wolff sought a meeting with Red Bull CEO Oliver Mintzlaff to explore opportunities for Schumacher in 2023. However, Marko claimed that the topic was dropped after Wolff allegedly engaged in politics against Red Bull at the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile).
Marko questioned why Red Bull should consider Schumacher when he is a Mercedes driver and suggested that if Wolff held such high regard for him, he should let him drive for his own team or use his influence to secure a seat at a customer team like Williams.
Wolff, who previously expressed frustration with Haas’s treatment of Schumacher in 2022, responded by stating that attempts to undermine Schumacher’s abilities are unfounded, and Marko’s version of events differs from his own. He clarified that he never discussed offering Schumacher a place at Red Bull with its leadership, and he speaks highly of Schumacher whenever possible. Ultimately, the decision on drivers rests with each team.
Schumacher recently played a vital role in Mercedes’ strong performance at the Spanish Grand Prix. Working overnight in the team’s simulator, Schumacher contributed to the team’s turnaround, resulting in Lewis Hamilton and George Russell both reaching the podium after a challenging start to the weekend.
Wolff affirmed that he would not hesitate to allow Schumacher to race for Mercedes if Hamilton or Russell were ever unavailable. However, his main priority is to assist Schumacher in securing a full-time race seat. Wolff believes that Schumacher’s talent deserves a chance and expressed the importance of providing the right environment and framework for each driver.
While Schumacher is proving to be a valuable asset to Mercedes in his reserve driver role, Wolff stated his preference for Schumacher to have a race seat rather than serving as a reserve. He emphasized that Mercedes respects their contractual obligations and the need for a reserve driver but believes that young talents like Schumacher are missing out on valuable racing opportunities.
In an unrelated development, it was announced that Schumacher will drive his father’s 2011-spec Mercedes W02 at the upcoming Goodwood Festival of Speed, providing him with an opportunity to showcase his skills behind the wheel of one of his father’s iconic cars.