Wolff makes Schumacher Mercedes third driver pledge

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Toto Wolff has pledged to agree a deal with Mick Schumacher to become the Mercedes Formula 1 third driver, if the German wants it.

Schumacher’s two-year stay at Haas ended after the 2022 season finale in Abu Dhabi, with the team drafting in Nico Hulkenberg to partner Kevin Magnussen for the next campaign.

The second seat at Haas was the final vacancy on the 2023 grid, meaning Schumacher would be forced into a third or reserve driver deal at another team, with Pietro Fittipaldi firmly encosed in that position at the American squad.

Mercedes are on the hunt for a new driver to shadow Lewis Hamilton and George Russell after Nyck de Vries departed for a race berth at AlphaTauri, while Stoffel Vandoorne took up a reserve role at Aston Martin.

Both Schumacher and Daniel Ricciardo have been linked with the vacancy at Brackley, but Ricciardo opted to return to Red Bull after leaving McLaren.

Wolff feels that a deal for Schumacher to join is certainly possible.

Wolff on Schumacher deal

“Mick is someone that has always been close to our heart because of [his father] Michael and the whole Schumacher family,” Wolff explained to media, including RacingNews365.com.

“Ralf was in DTM for a long time with us, his son [David, Mick’s cousin] races Mercedes in GTs, and [Mick] is an intelligent, well-mannered young man.

“He’s been very successful in junior formulas, and we believe that we can look after him if the situation were to happen.

“He is someone that just fits the team, but we haven’t put pen to paper.

“We haven’t really come anywhere close to any terms.

“I’m saying that openly because I think he just fits and now we need to make it happen – if he wants to, if [Schumacher’s manager] Sabine [Kehm] wants to and then we will see where that goes.”

Ferrari future to be discussed

While Schumacher is in discussions with Mercedes, he will also be sitting down with Ferrari about his future in the Driver Academy.

Schumacher had FDA backing during his climb up the ranks, with Ferrari assisting him into the Haas seat in 2021.

It was reported earlier in the year that Schumacher would lose the support of the FDA after the season, but Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto has described the process of what will happen next.

“Mick is a great driver and I think he has always progressed through his career and well during the current season,” Binotto explained.

“If you look back at how he started [the season] and where he is ending, he has shown that he is capable of progressing.

“As the Ferrari Driver Academy, we believe he is a great driver, and after Haas has somehow decided for a different choice for next season, we need to sit down with Mick and really trying to decide what’s best for the future.

“The decision would be what is best for him.

“We don’t have any seat to offer him right now and what’s most important when you are so young in your career is to make sure that you get the best opportunity.

“We’ll be fully open to difference choices but it is something that obviously we need to sit down with him and conclude.”

			© XPBimages
© XPBimages

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