Mick Schumacher, Alfa Romeo, Nurburgring, 2020

Schumacher ready to make early F1 debut in Abu Dhabi if Grosjean can’t race

2020 F1 season

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Mick Schumacher says he is ready to make his Formula 1 debut early if the team needs a replacement for Romain Grosjean again at next week’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Grosjean will be replaced by Pietro Fittipaldi at this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix as he continues to recover from the burns he sustained in his fiery crash on Sunday.

Schumacher was announced today as one of Haas’s new drivers for the 2021 F1 season, alongside Nikita Mazepin. Both are in contention for the Formula 2 title in this weekend’s season finale, but the pair will be available to race in Abu Dhabi next week if needed.

Asked whether he felt prepared enough to take over Grosjean’s car, Schumacher said: “It’s great if you are considered to be ready to do that, I feel like I am.

“Obviously you have three free practices which you have time to learn [in]. It would be a challenge but definitely I think I would be able to get to know the car more to be even better prepared for next year.”

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said he will not decide between Schumacher, Mazepin, Fittipaldi or any driver other unless he needs a replacement for Grosjean.

“In the moment the status is I want to see where Romain is on Monday,” he said. “That’s what I agreed with him. I don’t even entertain any replacement or anything.

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“We have got enough drivers on standby that can drive so I’m not worried about it and we just take that decision [if] we know 100% that Romain cannot drive.”

Steiner said he hopes Grosjean will be able to take part in his final race for the team.

“If he can finish his time with Haas in a race, that’s what I would like, not just watching it. That is our aim.

“That is what we spoke with him. I said I fully support that you want to go out on a high and he said if I can do it that is what I want to do. Therefore I am quite regimental on that one. We are not deciding anything before we know that he can definitely not drive.”

The team confirmed Grosjean has been released from the Bahrain Defence Force hospital today, where he has spent three nights since the crash on Sunday. “Grosjean will continue private treatment for the burns suffered on the back of his hands and will remain in Bahrain for the time being,” said Haas in a statement.

“On behalf of Romain Grosjean and the entire Haas F1 team we extend our thanks to all who have tended to him at the BDF Hospital.”

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10 comments on “Schumacher ready to make early F1 debut in Abu Dhabi if Grosjean can’t race”

  1. Grosjean has just left the hospital and everyone is fighting for his seat.
    It feels like a family arguing about heritage at a funeral. Not classy, from everyone involved.

    1. Asked whether he felt prepared enough to take over Grosjean’s car, Schumacher said: “It’s great if you are considered to be ready to do that, I feel like I am.”

    2. @jeff1s It looks to me that he was reacting to a question rather than proactively asking for the seat. Therefore I am not that bothered and any ire should be aimed at the interviewer instead.

      If it was a proactive attempt to get the seat then that is different.

      1. Sometimes silence is the best response.

        1. Therefore you are not an F1 racer. If you are then you know you have to answer questions.

    3. No one’s fighting over the seat, it’s just the media doing their thing

  2. Would there really be much point in changing a replacement driver to another replacement for only a single event? Surely, Pietro Fittipaldi would also do the Abu Dhabi GP should Grosjean still be unable to participate.

    1. Never hurts to put a future driver in that car for just a bit of an extra head start going into next season. Fittipaldi isn’t likely to ever permanently be a race driver for them, so if you can have Mick or Nikita get in there instead of him, you’d get more out of it as a team.

      1. Have to agree with that @jerejj, if Grosjean isn’t just ready to drive, as clearly Steiner also prefers (And Grosjean will definitely be working towards)

        If one of the 2021 drivers are chosen, despite appearances of it being about the money, I’d go for Mazepin, because a) well, eh, the money; but b) Schumacher has needed a bit of time to get comfortable so far in the formula series he did, so give him a good pre-season and half a year, no point in risking his reputation on a one-off in a not so great car, Mazepin has much less expectation on him from the outside, little to lose.

    2. I agree. The reserve driver should the first choice when one of the regular drivers isn’t able to compete. However, I suspect some reserve drivers aren’t race fit, which is sort of understandable. So what Guenther has done is what I think should be done: Romain’s drive was given to the Reserve Driver.

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