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Has Mick Schumacher lost his last chance? Analysis of Formula 1 transfers

Date: April 19, 2024 Time: 16:03:35

At the end of the week, experts from the world of Formula 1 reported that Williams had decided to extend the contract with Logan Sargent for the 2024 season and maintain the current driver lineup. However, there is no official confirmation yet and it is therefore too early to give up on Mick Schumacher’s hopes of competing for Grove. Furthermore, the German has another option…

Seven out of ten championship teams have announced their squads for next year, but three still have formally empty seats: we bring you a complete overview of the Formula 1 transfer market.

Williams: looking for a partner for Albon

Signing Sargent to a new contract is not the most obvious decision for Williams. This year, on some tracks, the FW45 is ahead of almost all the middle peasants: Albon has already managed to get into the top 8 with this car four times. But the American debutant makes mistakes again and again and crashes cars, not to mention the huge difference in pure pace and the 14:0 score in qualifying.

At the same time, Grove emphasized from the beginning that Logan needed to gain experience, and only after this could the performance of the newcomer be appreciated. And this is also true: in 2021, Sargent was still racing in Formula 3 and reached the “Grand Prix” after a single season in Formula 2. By the way, in the latter the American won the long races of Silverstone and Spielberg , ahead of the more experienced Pourcher and Douin, among others.

Logan Sergeant

Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

If Williams really decided to renew the contract, one can only be happy for Sargent, but there is no official announcement yet, so the de facto vacancy is still open. Mick Schumacher has been considered for many months Logan’s main rival in the fight for a place on the team. After two years at Haas, Michael’s son became a reservist for Mercedes. It is true that Mika’s new boss, Toto Wolf, admitted that the German had minimal chances of returning, which can also serve as indirect confirmation of the rumors about Sargent’s new contract.

In theory, in addition to Schumacher, Grove has two more options to replace Sargent: Frederic Vesti, who is fighting for the F2 title, coming from Mercedes’ own youth program, and the Chinese Guanyu Zhou, who has experience and sponsors. The transfer of the latter would seem a logical and understandable step, but inviting Vesti would only make sense if Williams had completely lost faith in its current driver. Which, apparently, is not the case.

Results of the Italian Grand Prix:

Alfa Romeo: who but Zhou?

The Williams option was considered the most promising for Zhou when there were rumors about his departure from Alfa Romeo. Then the desire to separate from the Chinese was explained by his poor results, as well as the transfer of the team under the control of Audi. The Germans, they say, wanted to take a promising compatriot along with an experienced pilot. However, such things are not yet visible on the horizon…

The first thing that comes to mind is Mick Schumacher, and rumors about him appearing at Alfa Romeo date back to the end of last year, when he was playing for Haas. However, the problem is that Audi will not appear in F-1 until 2026, when Mick will be 27 years old. At this age, Schumacher should already be a well-deserved driver with a solid reputation, and not a promising driver with his sights set on the future. But what are the chances that, now at Alfa Romeo, the German will suddenly perform better than Valtteri Bottas? And if he doesn’t, he won’t be able to become the leader of the future Audi.

Theo Purcher

Photo: art-grandprix.com

Another Alfa Romeo driver candidate remains Theo Pourcher. The Frenchman has been included in the team’s youth program since 2019, but during this time he has not been able to really impress. In 2020, Purcher was too far behind Piastri, and in 2021-2022 he was too far from the championship in F-2. However, in the third year, Theo entrenched himself in the lead and will almost certainly win the title at the Abu Dhabi leg. But is a third-down win enough to take Zhou’s place on the team? And if not, what were these four years spent on? On the other hand, if Purscher fails to prove himself in 2024, in the 2025 season he may be replaced by another young driver, or Sauber will hire some experienced driver in anticipation of Audi’s arrival. This, unfortunately, is the main advantage of Theo’s candidacy so far.

Another unexpected option for Alfa Romeo during the Italian Grand Prix was the call by Guido van der Garde: he suggested taking a closer look at Felipe Drugovich, the 2022 F-2 champion. The Brazilian won his title in the third season (it is that is, faster than Purscher) and, in addition, he plays the role of Aston Martin’s reserve: Felipe already performed in free practice before the Grand Prix, participated in several tests and even replaced Lance Stroll in the winter. Drugovic, however, is three years older than Purscher, but this can offset a solid sponsorship budget.

Discussions in the paddock continue:

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Alpha Tauri: three candidates for two vacancies

The most confusing situation at the moment in Alpha Tauri is that three pilots are claiming two places at once. No one dares to get into Helmut Marko’s head and predict the composition of the Faenza team for the next season, so there are practically no rumors about it. But we can conclude that the final decision on the drivers will be made based on their sporting level.

A few months ago, Yuki Tsunoda’s position in the team seemed pretty solid. Let Red Bull part with Honda, Tsunoda himself, with the departure of Pierre Gasly, cheered up, became much calmer and more stable. However, it is one thing to shine against the background of Nick de Vries and quite another to surpass Daniel Riccardo. At the Hungarian Grand Prix, which became Dan’s first with the Alpha Tauri, he was faster than Tsunoda, who had been working with the car for half a year. Yuki is still ahead of Liam Lawson, but the gap is not as big as, for example, between the Japanese and De Vries.

Liam Lawson and Yuki Tsunoda

Photo: Peter Fox/Getty Images

Liam himself continues to hold on with confidence, and even Helmut Marko admitted in an interview that the New Zealander, at this rate, will very quickly get a permanent place on the starting grid. It should be noted that in qualifying Lawson is still behind Tsunoda, and in the race it is still impossible to compare his pace (in Zandvoort the conditions were too difficult, and in Monza the Japanese retired before the start). On the other hand, if in the remaining races Liam does not make mistakes, learns and progresses, it is very likely that the New Zealander will have a contract.

As a result, Daniel Ricciardo found himself in the most difficult situation of all. The Australian moved quickly behind the wheel of an unknown car and began to show that the turbulent years at McLaren were an exception and did not reflect the driver’s true speed. However, the fracture took Ricciardo off the grid again and it is unlikely that he will return to the wheel in top physical shape. Daniel will have to convince the team again that he is fast and capable of delivering results.

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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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