A 2023 sabbatical wouldn’t be “so bad” for Mick Schumacher as the German struggles to keep his seat at Haas.
Team owner Gene Haas had warned before the US GP that the 23-year-old, who has cost the team “a fortune” in crash damage, needed more “points” to deserve a new contract.
And while Kevin Magnussen scored points, Schumacher did not.
“I think we were on for good points today for sure,” he said afterwards, insisting that he lost pace when the car was damaged.
When asked if the latest zero-points outcome may be the death knell for his 2023 hopes, Schumacher told Sky Deutschland: “I think the team knows and has seen what I can do.
“Everyone out there saw that we were on course for points, so it’s extremely annoying that we couldn’t get them.
“But the pace is there.”
Team boss Gunther Steiner even issued a mild rebuke to Magnussen in Austin, after Haas’ signed-and-sealed 2023 driver urged the team to re-sign Schumacher.
“I think I got a lot of consultancy from people about who should be driving the car, like Kevin obviously, but that is what he thinks,” he said.
“In the end I need to look after our team for the future and then we will take the driver we want in the car.”
So with Williams looking to rookie Logan Sargeant to 2023, Schumacher’s options now seen to be between Haas, a reserve role, or a sabbatical.
“I think a year’s break wouldn’t be so bad for a guy like him,” said former F1 driver Christian Danner.
“he’s still so young that he can easily resume his Formula 1 career afterwards,” he told Sport1.
Well-known German journalist Ralf Bach, however, does not agree.
“For Mick, I think it’s all about surviving 2023,” he said. “Because the way I see it, his future lies with Audi.
“They want him and there have already been talks. I know for sure that there are talks.”
Audi is entering Formula 1 in 2026, almost certainly in collaboration with Sauber – currently known as Alfa Romeo.
When asked about Schumacher securing a works Audi seat, the German carmaker’s F1 project leader Adam Baker said: “To be honest, a German driver would be interesting for us.
“But the final decision will be made based on performance, not nationality.”
Danner, however, thinks that Schumacher staying with Haas could actually hurt his future F1 prospects.
“There are many problems for him in that environment,” he said. “It’s an atmosphere in which it becomes very, very difficult if they think you’re not in top form.”