AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost says that in his view, Mick Schumacher needs at least three years of racing experience in Formula 1 before he is in a position to consider signing for Ferrari.
The 23-year-old German claimed the FIA Formula 3 Euro title in 2018 and went on to be crowned Formula 2 champion in 2020, thereby earning himself a seat in F1 with the Haas F1 Team.
A member of the Ferrari Driver Academy and a reserve driver for the F1 team, Schumacher has long been viewed as a future Maranello recruit. But the success of the current line-up of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz has put that on hold.
As far as Tost is concerned that's a good thing, insisting that the son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher needs a lot more time to fully develop his talent before stepping into the searing spotlight at Ferrari.
“He has to drive somewhere else for another three years,” Tost told the F1-Insider.com website this week. "A driver needs at least three years of learning to drive at the top level.
"A George Russell or a Charles Leclerc also needed that time," he pointed out. “Formula 1 is extremely complicated today."
Schumacher spent his rookie season in an uncompetitive car driving alongside fellow rookie Nikita Mazepin. A much-improved VF-22 together with a more experienced team mate in the form of Kevin Magnussen will provide a chance to make progress in 2022, according to Tost.
“He first has to beat his team-mate Kevin Magnussen consistently at Haas and try to achieve success with Haas," advised the 66-year-old Austrian. "That’s his job now and nothing else.”
Former f1 driver Marc Surer had similar advice for Schumacher, saying that in the modern sport being cool and analytical was more important than natural ability or speed.
“Mick has proved how capable he is of learning through his successes in Formula 3 and Formula 2, each of which he won in his second season," he said. “In Formula 1 today, that’s one of the most important things.
"You can see everything in the telemetry data today, from steering wheel movement to braking point to the position of the accelerator on the team-mate. Mick will now study this data carefully.
“You don’t have to be a high flyer to be successful," commented Surer who competed in 82 races for Ensign, ATS, Theodore, Arrows and Brabham between 1979 and 1986 and who now commentates on F1 races for Sky Sports Germany.
"Niki Lauda and Nico Rosberg are good examples," he continued. Neither had the basic speed like Alain Prost in Lauda’s case, or Lewis Hamilton in Rosberg’s. Nevertheless, they were able to beat their team-mates once and win the World Championship.
“Mick has to be aware of his analytical skills and follow the path of Lauda and Rosberg. That way, he can recommend himself to Ferrari in the next few years.
“Natural talent alone is not enough either - the example of Jean Alesi shows that," he argued. "He was considered a highflyer when he came to Formula 1 but in the end he could only win one race in his career."