(GMM) Mick Schumacher’s sidestep into Alpine’s world endurance prototype car and shot at Le Mans next year will not help his Formula 1 career.
That is the view of former F1 driver Christian Danner, who insists that the world of endurance sports cars is “an entirely different league of motorsport” than grand prix racing.
“Driving in the world endurance championship is 100 percent not a ticket back to Formula 1 – under no circumstances,” he told sport.de.
Rather, he thinks it’s good that Schumacher has at least retained his Mercedes reserve role for 2024.
“That means if (Lewis) Hamilton or (George) Russell cannot race, and he is allowed to step in, that is at least an opportunity for a Formula 1 recommendation again,” said Danner.
Also, not a comparable series to Formula 1 is the all-electric Formula E, according to former grand prix winner Robert Kubica – who won the second-tier LMP2 WEC title this year.
The Pole said he has received offers from Formula E teams, but turned them down.
“I had several offers and turned down a lot of money,” said Kubica. “But for me, a competitive car has to make noise.
“I have a saying that I shouldn’t say too loudly, but driving those cars is a bit like making love to a blow-up doll.”
Kubica’s friend Fernando Alonso, apparently has plans to return to Le Mans one day – and probably with triple world champion Max Verstappen as his teammate.
“I’ve been talking to Fernando about it,” Verstappen admitted at the Honda Thanks Day in Japan. “He said he’d just want to do it with me, so I told him that would be great.”
November 24, 2023
(GMM) Mick Schumacher must still be hallucinating and 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-centered 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.