A new candidate has leapt into pole position to potentially replace Mick Schumacher at Haas next year.
The small American team’s boss Gunther Steiner admits that Ferrari is behind the appointment of Antonio Giovinazzi for practice session outings at both the forthcoming Monza and US GP rounds.
“Ferrari were keen to give Antonio some seat time in a current-spec Formula 1 car on a race weekend and we were naturally happy to assist,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Antonio again and having him back in the paddock with us.”
As former Alfa Romeo racer Giovinazzi cannot be counted as a rookie driver for the 2022 practice rules, it could be seen as a clear sign that both Haas and Ferrari are reconsidering their commitment to Schumacher.
But Sport1 claims that Sebastian Vettel has actually advised his 23-year-old German protege to leave the Ferrari academy, amid rumours Schumacher could be in talks with Alpine.
Former F1 driver Timo Glock thinks Schumacher will indeed ride out the storm and keep racing in Formula 1 next year.
“He really showed very good racing on the weekends before the summer break,” he told Sky Deutschland.
“You can see a development now and as long as that development is there, it is very positive. That’s why I’m convinced that we will see Mick in Formula 1 again in 2023.
“We’ll have to wait and see where that will be – I’m curious myself.”
If Schumacher is leaving the Ferrari academy, Glock thinks it could be a straightforward case of Haas needing to accept the next Ferrari-sponsored driver.
“The question is whether Haas is interested in a contract extension with Mick or maybe needs a pilot who brings money with him,” he said.
“Remember, Haas lost a strong financier in Nikita Mazepin, so the question of the financial situation there is a question mark.
“That could be critical for Mick’s future.”
One sign that Schumacher and Alpine are flirting over a potential 2023 tie-up is the news that the driver and team CEO Laurent Rossi suddenly now follow one another on social media.
“I wouldn’t read too much into that,” said Glock. “Maybe it’s a small indication that they’re having conversations.
“I don’t see a date by which it has to be decided – it just depends on how long the negotiations last. If he is negotiating and they’re in agreement, it can happen quickly.”
Another factor is that Haas and Ferrari may simply be putting extra pressure on the German to see how the son of F1 legend Michael Schumacher reacts.
“Uncertainty can of course affect a driver, but it also shows how strong a driver is mentally,” said Glock.
“What we’ve seen lately that Mick is very well positioned there. He didn’t let himself be put off. Even if the points weren’t there at first, he waited for his chance.”