Ralf Schumacher: Mick's deal with Mercedes a win-win situation


Ralf Schumacher has given a big thumbs up to nephew Mick's 2023 deal with Mercedes, insisting it’s a win-win situation for both team and driver.

Schumacher was picked up by Mercedes after he was left without a race seat for next season after two years with Haas.

The 23-year-old will attend all F1 races next season embedded with his new team as its official reserve driver, but he'll also conduct development work in the outfit's simulator at Brackley.

"This is a great opportunity for Mick," commented Ralf Schumacher, speaking to Sport1. "He can look over the shoulder of a top team at work and learn a lot.

"And he is not only a development driver, where he can certainly help Mercedes in the simulator to return to the top; as a reserve driver, he has to replace a regular driver if he drops out.

"We have had this situation more often in the last three years.

"Lewis Hamilton is still an absolute top driver, but he is no longer the youngest. The ravages of time are gnawing away. So you never know. I think it's a win-win situation for the team and Mick."

Schumacher admitted that a race seat in 2023 would have been better for his nephew, although perhaps not necessarily with Haas.

"Of course, another season with a permanent seat would have been better in principle, because driving is still the best thing to develop further.

"On the other hand, he lacked the necessary support at Haas, so it would have been very difficult for him. If a team boss does not believe in a driver, you should part.

"From a purely sporting point of view, Mick's curve was clearly rending higher. That's why you don't necessarily have to understand Haas' decision.

"However, under these circumstances, it [joining Mercedes] was the optimal solution for Mick."

Although Hamilton has expressed a desire to race on for several more years in Formula 1, Schumacher believes that a defeat at the hands of his Mercedes teammate George Russell could encourage him to throw in the towel and sail off into the sunset, which could open the door to Mick's promotion to a race seat.

"Something could happen at Mercedes," Ralf Schumacher added. "Let's say George Russell is faster than Lewis Hamilton again. Does he even want to continue?

"It's going to be exciting. But Lewis has so much credit at Mercedes that he'll decide for himself. In any case, money won't matter to him as he has more than enough of that.

"The decisive factor will be who suits the new car better."

But Schumacher also suggests that his nephew's deal with Mercedes could provide a pipeline to one of the manufacturer's engine customer teams.

"Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has already said that Mick belongs with his skills in a regular cockpit," he said.

"I think there could be some interesting opportunities in 2024. Mercedes not only has its own team, but also partner teams where you can exert some influence."

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