Nov.24 (GMM) Mick Schumacher insists he is not giving up on his dream of returning to the Formula 1 grid.
It has been announced that the German and ousted Haas racer will keep his Mercedes reserve seat in 2024 whilst also racing for Renault-owned Alpine in the top category of the Le Mans-centred world endurance championship.
“I couldn’t not race again,” he told reporters in Abu Dhabi for the 2023 F1 finale, whilst addressing reporters in plain clothes to avoid Mercedes-Alpine sponsor clashes.
It will be a huge 2024 program for 24-year-old Schumacher, who will skip as few grands prix as possible next year whilst also doing the eight WEC rounds.
“It’s going to be a long, exhausting year,” the son of F1 legend Michael Schumacher smiled.
But he denies it’s a backwards step for his career, insisting it may actually help him become a better driver and relaunch his F1 racing ambitions.
“I can only benefit from this if a door opens again in Formula 1,” said Schumacher. “Yes, the cars are completely different but I’m starting a new, interesting chapter in my career.
“Formula 1 is and remains the goal.”
Schumacher says he was determined to race again in 2024 but considered other options – whilst seeking advice from his friend and mentor Sebastian Vettel.
“Seb has so much experience in motorsport,” he said. “His opinion was important to me.
“It’s an up-and-coming championship that more and more manufacturers are getting involved in,” the German explained.
And the fact that one of them is Alpine, also with a Formula 1 team featuring his friend Esteban Ocon, helped with the decision.
“That was certainly a factor,” said Schumacher. “The entire package is right.
“I also looked east and west,” he explained, believed to be referring to Super Formula in Japan and top North American categories, “but in the end there was more to be said for joining the WEC than there was against it.”
He also said it was important to keep his current F1 reserve role with Mercedes alive, clarifying that “I will perform the same tasks as I did this season”.
Schumacher said Mercedes and Alpine are on board with the scheduling conflicts.
“I think there are six races where the Formula 1 and WEC dates overlap,” he said.