Mick Schumacher looks set to be left without a Formula 1 racing seat next season after Haas signed veteran Nico Hulkenberg to replace him.
Schumacher hasn’t done enough in his two seasons with the US-based team to convince them to sign him for 2023.
Hulkenberg, 35, will return to the grid for a full season for the first time since being retired by Renault in 2019.
Since then he has made a few appearances as a substitute for the Racing Point/Aston Martin team.
The only remaining hope of an F1 racing seat next year for the son of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher is if American Logan Sargeant fails to score enough points in this weekend’s Formula 2 finale. end in Abu Dhabi to secure a drive at Williams.
Williams said Sargeant, their reserve driver this year, would get the seat as long as he qualified. He must finish eighth in the championship and is currently in third place.
Schumacher scored 12 points this year to the 25 of Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen, who outqualified him 14 times at five in races where a fair comparison can be made.
A series of heavy accidents also shook Schumacher’s hopes.
“I don’t want to hide the fact that I’m very disappointed with the decision not to renew our contract,” the 23-year-old said on social media.
“It was bumpy at times, but I steadily improved, learned a lot and now know for sure that I deserve a place in Formula 1. The subject is anything but closed for me. Setbacks only make it more strong.”
“My fire is burning for Formula 1 and I will fight to get back on the starting grid.”
Schumacher is a candidate for a reserve seat at Mercedes. Team principal Toto Wolff said on Sunday he would “consider taking this option if he doesn’t get a race seat”.
Wolff added that Mercedes and the Schumacher family “belong together”.
Michael drove for Mercedes in endurance races before moving to F1, and his first F1 drive to Jordan in 1991 was paid for by the German company.
He ended his career with a three-year spell at Mercedes in 2010-12 following his return to F1 after his first retirement at the end of 2006.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who leaves McLaren after the final race of the 2022 season in Abu Dhabi as the team terminated his contract a year earlier, is also a contender for the Mercedes reserve seat.
Ricciardo is also said to be in talks with his former team Red Bull over a similar role.
Hulkenberg was given the chance to relaunch a career that spanned nine seasons and is best known for being the longest in F1 history for a driver who failed to score a podium and taking pole position for Williams uncompetitive in Brazil in its early days. season in 2010.
“I am very happy to take up a full-time racing seat with the Haas F1 team in 2023 – I feel like I never really left Formula 1,” he said.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to do what I love the most again and I want to thank Gene Haas and Gunther Steiner for their confidence.
“We have work ahead of us to be able to compete with all the other teams in midfield, and I can’t wait to join this battle again.”
Hulkenberg is considered a very talented driver for whom good results never quite materialized, quite often due to his own mistakes – he crashed out of the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix arguing for the lead with the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton, and potential podium finishes for Renault eluded him after mistakes in Azerbaijan in 2017 and Germany in 2019.
His best result is a fourth place, obtained three times with the Force India team, the ancestor of Aston Martin.
Hulkenberg and Magnussen, now teammates in 2023, had a famous verbal altercation in the TV interview after the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix. The German accused the Dane of being “unsportsmanlike” and Magnussen responded with a scathing rebuke.
The two say they have since mended their relationship and no longer have issues with each other.