Toto Wolff has played down new reports linking Mick Schumacher with an imminent return to the grid.
Rumours in Montreal suggested the 24-year-old axed Haas driver is now being recommended by his new boss, Mercedes’ Wolff, as a replacement for struggling rookie Logan Sargeant at Mercedes-powered Williams.
“I think whoever wants him would get a good driver,” Wolff said of Schumacher, who was signed as Mercedes’ official reserve driver for 2023.
“But, ultimately, the other teams have to decide for themselves which drivers they want. I can’t tell the teams we have contracts with to take our reserve driver,” he is quoted by Speed Week.
“But yes, I think they’re missing out on something.”
However, Wolff says keeping Schumacher at Mercedes is a boost to the German team as it works to return to the very front of the grid.
“We have another mature, successful and experienced Formula 1 driver on the team to support us,” he said. “Both in the simulator and with his feedback.
“At some of the European races, it is a huge advantage if you have someone like that sitting in the simulator on Friday evening and working through the data for Saturday.
“Besides, if one of our drivers ever has fish poisoning – or avocado poisoning in Lewis’ case – we know we’ve got a great guy in the car who can drive well.
“But as much as I like this situation from the point of view of our team, I would like Mick to be able to race himself.”
However, he admits that Schumacher’s situation is now politically complex, explaining: “Honestly, I think he was burned last year.”
He is referring not only to the high-profile Haas ousting, but rumours of subsequently failed negotiations between Mercedes and Red Bull.
“I never talked to Red Bull management about whether Mick can get a place in their team,” Wolff insisted, according to motorsport-total.com.
“It would be a waste of time.”