Schumacher has potential to be ‘a good driver in a permanent seat’ – Wolff

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In the round-up: Mick Schumacher can prepare himself for an F1 return through his work at Mercedes, says the team principal Toto Wolff.

In brief

Schumacher could be back in F1 if we help him develop – Wolff

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff believes Mick Schumacher could earn a “permanent seat” back in Formula 1 if Mercedes help to develop him as their reserve driver.

Schumacher raced with Haas in 2021 and 2022 but was dropped by the team for this season. Mercedes signed him as their reserve driver to replace Nyck de Vries, who has taken a race seat at AlphaTauri. Wolff says Schumacher has the potential to earn a second chance racing in Formula 1.

“I believe if we can give him a safe environment to to further develop, he can be a good racing driver in a permanent seat in the future,” Wolff said.

“In the same way we have let Nyck de Vries go in order for him to achieve a career, that could be something that could happen to Mick – whether it is in our team or letting him go somewhere else, we don’t know at this stage. Where he will massively contribute is that he’s driven the new car for a year and has been in Formula 1 for two years… he will be super helpful in the simulator and in assessing the car overall. It will be good to have him on track and in the debriefing room.”

No date set yet for Frijns return

Frijns is in hospital in Mexico
Abt Formula E driver Robin Frijns is unsure when he will be able to return after suffering multiple fractures to his left hand and wrist in a crash during Saturday’s race at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

“Had a five-hour operation as my hand was fractured in several places,” he wrote on social media. “Will travel home soon and will start my recovery. Early days to say when I am back but I will be back soon!”

The next race takes place at the Diriyah circuit Saudi Arabia on January 27th.

Williams junior Gray to race FIA F3 with Carlin

Williams junior driver Ollie Gray will compete in the 2023 FIA Formula 3 championship in 2023 with Carlin, the team has announced.

Gray was runner-up in last year’s British Formula 4 championship to Alex Dunne, taking two race victories and 16 podium finishes. Williams confirmed that Gray would make the step up to FIA Formula 3 with the Carlin team.

“Throughout his first year as part of our Driver Academy, Ollie’s shown his talents on the track with numerous wins and podiums and while at Grove where he’s worked with the team,” Williams’ sporting director Sven Smeets said. “We look forward to supporting his development in 2023 and seeing what he can achieve in F3.”

Prost documentary coming this year

A new documentary on the career of four-times Formula 1 world champion Alain Prost will arrive later this year. The series, consisting of four 45-minute episodes, is being created by French broadcaster Canal+, but there is no word yet on whether an English-language version is planned.

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Comment of the day

As the Virtual Le Mans 24 Hours demonstrates how simracing is becoming gradually more exclusive as time goes by, Alan Dove is not surprised…

This was all quite predictable, and I warned some folk about it during 2020. I could see simracing making exactly the same mistakes karting made (around 1996-2007 when Hamilton made it big). By creating a subservience to the likes of F1 you actively participate in the cultural destruction of your own sport.

Now simracing can’t complain too much because to some degree it relies upon real-world counterparts to act as a way to create prestige within its own events (I am being very generalistic here with regards to who simracing is, but have to for simplicity sake). You can’t criticise the major IP holders who start to ask who exactly is using their brands and events and for what purposes, and you can’t blame them for how they construct these types of events. The money wouldn’t be there to put into production if they had to rely upon the splits system iRacing uses. It’s not Le Mans responsibility to try and kindle simracing culture.

Live For Speed has probably been the best simulator to maintain cultural identity because the cars and tracks, bar a few exceptions, are largely fantasy. The developers of that have always had their heads on their shoulders though and do things very differently to everyone else. But if major sims rely upon real-life counterparts to create their big events, then maybe those who are part of the culture should rethink how they do thing because you’ll always be at the whim of the IP holders.
Alan Dove

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Ads21, Bev, Gabal and Gerdoner!

On this day in motorsport

  • 70 years ago today Alberto Ascari took his fourth pole position in a race for Ferrari in the season-opening round at Buenos Aires

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 14 comments on “Schumacher has potential to be ‘a good driver in a permanent seat’ – Wolff”

    1. If Spirit was Honda’s second phase, which phase are they on now?!

      1. @bullfrog Probably around the ‘waving goodbye phase MMXXIII’.

    2. For now, I see Audi-Sauber as Mick’s only option for 2024.

      Why should English versions for the four episodes come anyway?
      Subtitles would be enough.

      More like early-teens at 13, but deserves more respect, yes.

      1. Why should English versions for the four episodes come anyway?
        Subtitles would be enough.

        There are news reports from parts of the UK that come with subtitles, and that’s for scenes where the speaker is nominally speaking English, but London has always been weird. :)

        1. I have never seen a news report with subtitles under a UK resident speaking English.

    3. ‘Good’ drivers don’t win championships. But they do make acceptable number twos…..

    4. If after two years in F1 you’ve showed nothing to make people go “oh yeah, he’s good” then no amount of sim work at Mercedes will ever earn you back into an F1 seat unless you have significant funding that a desperate team needs more than talent.

      Mick wasn’t a bad driver, by any means, but he certainly wasn’t setting the world on fire that would make any team go “yeah, he’s worth the investment” at this point.

      1. Mick wasn’t a bad driver, by any means, but he certainly wasn’t setting the world on fire that would make any team go “yeah, he’s worth the investment” at this point.

        Precisely what I was going to say @sjaakfoo
        I think he will find a motorsport that suits him better than F1 and sponsors will always be keen to be associated with the name.
        He will do fine.

    5. I honestly think Gutierrez was faster than Mick in F1. These lower midfield cars are very deceiving. The 2016 Haas was not a top 10 car. Their real position was around 13. So unless something happens ahead they are not scoring points. All of the luck fell Grosjean’s way that season and he scored 5 times. But in actual pace Gutierrez was only slightly worse. The final score was 12-9 in quali and 7-7 in race H2H. This is important because when Magnussen replaced Gutierrez in 2017 his actual quali gap to Grosjean was worse. 12-8. Gutierrez was a super underrated F1 driver. His first season wasn’t great. But in his last 2 seasons he measured really well with known quality midfield drivers.

    6. I feel sad for Mick, Toto grabbed him for some marketing potential his name alone provides. Mick as a driver would not have made it into F1 on his performances, better drivers have failed to enter F1. He was a seat warmer and lucky paired with Mazepin, so he looked marginally better than a total no hoper.

      Toto is not putting him a seat, no team wants him, Ferrari cut him out of their program, the writing is on the wall, he has to kidnap someone and hold them ransom to get any seat so he can have one last race.

      Truly great drivers come into F1 with huge buzz surrounding them, like Michael, Ayrton, Lewis, Mick came in with ‘Michael’s son is here, but he is not fast, we just think his last name is great to have on the grid’

      And yes, some truly great drivers enter without big buzz, like Prost but Mick isn’t Prost and he’ll never be.

      1. Unfair comment to say marginally, he looked way better than mazepin, who admittedly shouldn’t have been in f1, I think schumacher is good enough for f1.

        There are similar drivers as schumacher in terms of speed nowadays, look at ricciardo, car considered he did worse than schumacher, but we know ricciardo’s potential is just below that of a top driver, so well worthy of f1 if he has the right car, and schumacher only had 2 years, only 1 with a decent team mate, way too little to say he’s not good enough for f1, at least 1 more year would’ve been needed for a proper evaluation.

      2. Oh, and a decent car: the haas of his first year was going absolutely nowhere.

    7. Regarding the COTD
      i understand the organiser showed the IP number of the server and that resulted in lots of people who wanted to connect, apart form several DDOS attacks..
      So purely the organisation to blame fot this “clown show”.

    8. No, he hasn’t. Can this man only vent PR talk?

    Comments are closed.