Schumacher, having lost his race seat with Haas last year, joined Mercedes as a reserve driver for 2023. His contributions to the team’s simulator and race weekend progress have earned him praise from Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.
Although Wolff appreciates Schumacher’s valuable input, he openly expresses his desire to see the young German secure a full-time drive once again.
During an interview with German television channel Sport1, Marko claimed that Wolff attempted to arrange a meeting with Red Bull CEO Oliver Mintzlaff to discuss the possibility of Schumacher joining their team.
Reflecting on the incident, Marko stated, “It was brought up in a meeting. It’s just unfortunate that Mr. Wolff simultaneously engaged in political actions against us at the FIA. This effectively put an end to the discussion.”
Marko further questioned the rationale behind considering Schumacher, stating, “Why should we take Schumacher? He is a Mercedes driver, and Mr. Wolff is responsible for him. If he holds him in such high regard, why not let him drive for his own team or use his influence to secure a seat at a customer team like Williams?”
In response, Wolff expressed his perplexity regarding the attitudes of others towards Schumacher, believing that the young driver has demonstrated his true potential this year despite facing challenges at Haas.
When asked how Mercedes could assist Schumacher in returning to a full-time race seat, Wolff commented, “I’m not even certain if we can facilitate it, as every time we speak highly of him, someone feels compelled to say something negative.”
He also clarified, “By the way, I have never discussed with Red Bull’s leadership the possibility of placing Mick there, as Helmut claimed. Wherever I have the opportunity to speak highly of Mick and praise him, I do so. However, ultimately, it is each team’s prerogative to decide on their drivers.”
Wolff emphasized that he would not hesitate to place Schumacher in one of Mercedes’ race seats if either of the current drivers were unavailable. He acknowledged the importance of honoring contracts within the team and the necessity of having a reserve driver when required.
He remarked, “I believe some talented youngsters are missing out. To be honest, I think Mick had a tough time last year. Each driver is unique, and they require a different environment and framework. Whoever secures Mick will have a truly talented individual.”
Wolff acknowledged Schumacher’s significant contributions throughout the year but expressed his willingness to forgo those gains if it meant the young driver could return to the Formula 1 grid.
“It’s fantastic to have a mature, successful, and experienced F1 driver supporting us in the simulator,” added Wolff. “His feedback provides us with tremendous advantages. During certain European grands prix, having him in the sim overnight and supplying data for Saturdays is a major asset for us.”
He continued, “On the other hand, if George or Lewis were unable to race due to illness, we know we have an excellent replacement who can drive the car competently. As much as I appreciate the benefits for the team, I would prefer Mick to be in a cockpit and racing every single day of the week.”
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Schumacher’s future
Q: What is the dispute between Wolff and Marko regarding Schumacher’s future in F1?
A: The dispute revolves around Marko’s claim that Wolff offered Schumacher a spot at AlphaTauri, which Wolff denies. Wolff emphasizes Schumacher’s potential, expresses his desire for the young driver to secure a full-time drive, and praises his contributions to Mercedes.