Formula 1 team boss Franz Tost has confirmed to “formel1.de” that at the end of 2022 he spoke within the team to bring Mick Schumacher to AlphaTauri. And that ultimately it was an overriding Red Bull decision to cancel Schumacher and sign Nyck de Vries instead.
AlphaTauri had actually planned for the 2023 Formula 1 season with Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda. The exchange affair involving Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri opened a door for Gasly at Alpine, and Red Bull gave him the go-ahead. However, this meant that a second driver had to be found for AlphaTauri.
“It was like that,” says Tost in the YouTube interview, “that Mick Schumacher didn’t get a cockpit for this year. It was then open for us after this Pierre Gasly story came to light, because for me it was actually original clear that our driver pairing will be Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda.”
“Then suddenly Pierre was awarded to Alpine, and that gave us a place. Until Monza it was completely unclear who would be our driver. And then, logically, I thought of Mick Schumacher,” admits the Austrian.
Tost is considered a motorsport fanatic within Red Bull, who also deals with the junior series more intensively than almost anyone else on weekends when there is no Formula 1. For this reason, he followed Schumacher’s career in Formula 1 closely.
Tost: Schumacher “better than perceived”
He believes that Michael Schumacher’s son, who is no longer considered by Haas, is “much better than he is currently perceived by the outside world”. But his suggestion to bring Schumacher to AlphaTauri “was then rejected. We are now driving with Nyck de Vries […] and there’s really nothing more to discuss.”
The story about Tost’s interest in Mick Schumacher became known through his uncle Ralf. In another interview, also on the “formel1.de” YouTube channel, he explained: “Then came Dr. Helmut Marko, who didn’t want it for personal reasons or whatever, and decided on Nyck de Vries .”
An interview that Marko apparently noticed, which he reacted to a little later, also on the Formel1.de YouTube channel, with a clarification: “I have no problems with the name Schumacher. On the contrary. I’m talking to Ralf. For me, Michael Schumacher is one of the greatest, if not the greatest at all.”
Only: “Mick Schumacher was under the wing of Ferrari in their junior program from the beginning of his career and was therefore outside our orbit.” And: “AlphaTauri is still a team for juniors.” Strictly speaking, Schumacher was no longer such a Haas after two years. Marko makes it clear: “There are no personal reasons.”
Schumacher probably no longer an issue
The fact that de Vries is now also shaking because Marko was not satisfied with his performance in the first races of the season caused rumors to surface again in Germany that Schumacher could switch to AlphaTauri. But Marko answered the question of whether the name Schumacher could be removed from the list: “Yes. He is also under contract with Mercedes.”
Especially since de Vries has recently shown appealing performances in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and has probably pulled his neck out of the noose, at least for the time being. And even if, contrary to expectations, he were fired before the end of the season, the in-house Red Bull junior Liam Lawson would presumably come first.