Dr Helmut Marko thinks Haas will replace Mick Schumacher with a “veteran” Formula 1 driver for 2023.
As the weeks and days roll on, it is becoming increasingly clear that the small American team intends to oust the 23-year-old son of F1 legend Mick Schumacher.
“When a team publicly criticises a driver so massively, as was sometimes the case, it shows that there is no sign of trust,” Red Bull’s top Austrian official Marko, 79, told the German broadcaster ntv.
“The situation at Haas is that they have an experienced driver in (Kevin) Magnussen, and if there was a great up-and-coming talent, I would bet on him,” he added.
“But I don’t see anyone at the moment who would have these requirements. And from a team perspective, there’s a lot of money at stake in the constructors’ world championship,” said Marko.
“Whether you’re tenth or eighth, that’s a difference of millions of dollars. I assume that Haas will bet on a veteran.”
That ‘veteran’ appears to be Nico Hulkenberg, who recently said he is “optimistic” that his “talks” with Haas about 2023 will be fruitful.
The team is tipped to make its announcement before next weekend’s Brazilian GP.
“It would be a shame for Servus TV,” said Marko, referring to the Red Bull-owned broadcaster that Hulkenberg currently works as a pundit for.
“On the other hand, Hulkenberg has proved that he can jump into a car as a reserve driver without any test kilometres – into the cold water, so to speak – and always deliver.
“That speaks volumes for him.”
As for Schumacher, Marko says the first half of the 2022 season “wasn’t good” for the German.
“There were serious accidents with a lot of equipment and monetary damage, which is of course a serious issue for teams. Then there were very good races in England and Austria and as a result, Schumacher improved significantly in the second half of the year,” said Marko.
“Then he had some bad luck with Haas’ strategy and also some car problems.”
Marko thinks it is “certainly a possibility” that Schumacher will sit out 2023 as Ferrari’s reserve driver.
“In 2024 a few places will become available as contracts expire,” he added.