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    Mick Schumacher is ready for Mercedes job, but…


    Mercedes needs someone to take over the cockpit from Lewis Hamilton in 2025. That much is certain. Mick Schumacher would like to take over the job to be a regular driver in Formula 1 again. But the list of candidates is long.

    It shouldn't fail because of Mick Schumacher. “It is of course a position that brings with it a lot of pressure,” says the 24-year-old in an exclusive interview with RTL/ntv about the option of moving up from reserve and test driver to regular Formula 1 driver at Mercedes: “But I feel like I'm a match for her.” After all, it's not just any position, but the successor to the most successful driver in the history of the racing series. Because Lewis Hamilton is moving to Ferrari for the 2025 season, the seat in the Silver Arrow is suddenly vacant. And Schumacher, as the current Mercedes test driver, is a logical option to fill this gap.

    “I wouldn't have thought that,” says Schumacher about the news that sent the premier class into turmoil last week – the British “Independent” even wrote about the “most gigantic of all shocks”, especially since the Mercedes leadership around team boss Toto Wolff apparently was caught cold. Hamilton, the face of Mercedes dominance who won six of his seven world titles and 82 Grand Prix victories with the German team, is heading to Ferrari. And leaves Wolff with the difficult task of finding someone to fill his shoes that are difficult to fill.

    Schumacher, who only finished in the points twice in 43 races in 2021 (in the chanceless Haas) and 2022 (in the more competitive Haas), feels ready for it. “But it's not my decision.” After a year on the pit wall in 2023, he is at least back in action regularly this season, albeit away from Formula 1 and not for Mercedes, but for Alpine in the WEC World Endurance Championship and with the 24 Hours of Le Mans as the highlight. A commitment also in the hope of being recommended for a return to the F1 grid.

    Mercedes boss Wolff has only said so far about the search for a successor that he doesn't want to “exclude anyone at any time” as he has already experienced too much in Formula 1. This also opens up a lot of room for speculation. After all, despite Red Bull's dominance in recent seasons, Mercedes is undoubtedly one of the title contenders, at least according to their own claims. The list of candidates is correspondingly long and the possible interactions are correspondingly extensive. “A lot will definitely happen,” says Schumacher in an interview with RTL/ntv. Certainly linked to the hope that the ideal case would occur and Mercedes would make him an offer.

    43-year-old Alonso or 18-year-old Antonelli?

    An obvious solution to the Mercedes dilemma would be to replace the former world champion with another former world champion: Fernando Alonso. His contract with Aston Martin runs until the end of 2024 and the then 43-year-old makes no sign of ending his F1 career, which began at Minardi in 2001. Next to Hamilton, Alonso is probably the most complete driver in the field – but he will have to weigh up whether he trusts the Aston Martin team, which is also on the rise because of him, to overtake Mercedes.

    However, Mercedes could also take a risk and put a Formula 1 newcomer in the car for the first time: Andrea Kimi Antonelli, born in 2006. The Italian is master of various kart and formula classes and has been a Mercedes junior since 2019. He skipped Formula 3 and can prove himself in Formula 2 this year. He should also focus on that, said Mercedes boss Wolff: “If we turn his head or spread rumors, it won't help him at all. He's only just outgrown karting, not even 18 years old. I would Don't speculate that he will get into Formula 1 at this point.”

    However, Mercedes could be playing for time to wait for its development in Formula 2. If he wins the title there in his first year, he would not be allowed to complete a second season in the F1 structure and would at the same time be recommended for a quick promotion.

    The option seems almost too obvious, Carlos Sainz who will lose his Ferrari cockpit to Hamilton at the end of the season. However, the Spaniard has already been linked to Audi, which will take over the Sauber team in 2026. The 29-year-old was also unable to fully impress during his time at Ferrari alongside Charles Leclerc. Mercedes would offer him the chance to be at the front again despite his resignation. A switch to Audi would probably involve greater risk.

    The McLaren duo would probably be expensive

    However, Mercedes could also react to the surprising departure of a (former) world champion as it did in 2016, when Nico Rosberg suddenly left: by signing a Williams driver. At that time, the Silvers bought Valtteri Bottas out of his contract, this time they could Alexander Albon get into the focus. Williams team boss James Vowles worked for Mercedes until the beginning of 2023, so the connection to Wolff is short. The Brit has already indicated that he doesn't want to stand in the way if the worst comes to the worst. However, there is also speculation that the 27-year-old Albon will return to Red Bull to succeed Sergio Perez – who took over his cockpit there in 2021.

    A transfer fee would also be due if Mercedes were to deal with the McLaren duo: the 24-year-old Lando Norris and the 22 year old Oscar Piastri A great future is predicted, which is why Wolff will also have these two names on the list. However, both have long-term contracts with McLaren, and the transfer fee is likely to be correspondingly high. Closely connected with Wolff Esteban Ocon, like Schumacher, is currently active at Alpine, but as a regular F1 driver. The former Mercedes junior once said that he would never have gotten this far without Wolff. However, it is questionable whether the silver team trusts him to win the world title.

    As an outsider candidate is also Daniel Ricciardo to see. At the age of 34, the Australian is back in the Red Bull cosmos after manageably successful years at Renault and McLaren, replacing Nyck de Vries at Alpha Tauri halfway through the season in 2023. Ricciardo, however, should primarily be aiming to fight for victories alongside Max Verstappen again in the future.

    The absolute sensation would be a commitment from Sebastian Vettel. The four-time world champion followed his idol Michael Schumacher at Ferrari, who then followed his resignation from Scuderia with a surprise comeback at Mercedes. He and Wolff are friends and are apparently in regular contact, but these considerations are unlikely to go beyond the level of a mental game. “I don't want to pursue any romantic ideas,” Wolff charmingly moderated such speculations when they were presented to him in a press conference.

    Wolff had also already commented on Mick Schumacher, albeit rather evasively. The Austrian has spoken more clearly in the past and has always raved about the qualities of the former Formula 3 and Formula 2 champion. Now, for the first time, we have the opportunity to put our well-intentioned words into action. Schumacher emphasizes on RTL/ntv that he “follows everything very closely” what is happening on the driver market. “If an opportunity arises, I will certainly be ready for it.” The only question is whether and in what form this opportunity will arise. “My chance is here. I don't know how big it is yet.”

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