Hans-Joachim Stuck thinks Haas should just re-sign Mick Schumacher – after all, they won’t have a “driver like Lewis Hamilton” to replace him.
Haas is one of three Formula 1 teams with an open seat for next season, considering Pierre Gasly locked in AlphaTauri.
It gave team boss Guenther Steiner options and time, with the team boss adamant he won’t be rushed into a decision.
Although he recently revealed Schumacher has a ’50-50′ chance of spending another season as Kevin Magnussen’s teammate, he’s not ready to nail his colors to that flagpole.
As for Schumacher’s team, the 23-year-old is said to be in talks with Alpine and Williams, although the latter seems the likeliest option if he doesn’t continue with Haas.
Williams team boss Jost Capito spoke about him, telling Sky Deutschland the driver is “very quick and a good guy – he should be on the list of teams that still have a seat”.
Stuck is baffled as to why no team has snapped him up yet, decrying it’s “completely incomprehensible”.
He added to Eurosport.de: “I don’t understand why no one has signed him yet.”
The former F1 driver believes Schumacher is the best option available for Haas.
“Mick would be the best option for Steiner because he won’t have a driver like Lewis Hamilton,” he said.
Schumacher, however, faces the very real prospect of his Formula 1 career ending after just two seasons.
Having scored just twice in his 37 race starts, the German has lacked consistency, which Steiner recently admitted was a problem for Haas.
“I’ll be honest,” he told speedweek.com. “We don’t know if Mick will stay or not. He delivered very good races in Canada, Great Britain and Austria. But he lacks consistency – he should deliver good performances more often.
Schumacher has six races to prove himself or he could find himself having to take on a test driver role for 2023 to stay on the sidelines.
That would be “big shit,” Stuck says.
“Once you’re out and you can’t prove yourself anymore, you’ve gone faster than you can see” is his fear for Schumacher.
A year on the sidelines might not be the worst thing
Spending a year on the sidelines as a reserve driver, most likely at Ferrari, wouldn’t be the end of the world for Schumacher. Ask Esteban Ocon or Alex Albon.
They were relegated to reserve driver roles, with Ocon spending a year learning from Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes and Albon doing the same but with Red Bull and Max Verstappen.
Both credited the gap year with helping them grow as pilots, with Ocon saying it was about more than “telemetry” and data, while Albon spoke of “mental toughness” and configuration regarding Verstappen.
Although there has been talk of Schumacher ending his relationship with Ferrari if he doesn’t find a place on the starting grid next year, sticking around as the Scuderia reserve would be the next best option.
He would have Charles Leclerc, one of the fastest drivers on the grid, and Carlos Sainz, one of the quietest, to learn from. They would bring something different to his arsenal, something he could use over time when he returned to the grid.
It won’t be easy, just like right now he’s struggling to secure his future. But that leaves a door open, and today that door is bigger than the window he has for 2023.