OCTOBER 23, 2023

Mick Schumacher hoping Alpine deal works out

Mick Schumacher says he is hoping his plans for 2024 continue to shape up.

Mick Schumacher, Abu Dhabi GP 2022
© Haas F1 Team / LAT

The axed Haas driver, currently Mercedes' F1 reserve, had hoped to return to the grid next year - but as the vacant cockpits all filled up, he turned his attention to Le Mans-style racing.

Last week, before travelling to Austin to serve as back-up to Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, 24-year-old Schumacher was at Jerez in Spain for a test, getting his first taste of Alpine's new world endurance championship prototype for 2024.

It's a completely different feeling, said the German, who is only used to driving single-seaters.

The car is quite big, quite heavy, he told Sky Deutschland at the US GP. "The cockpit is completely closed, which felt a bit claustrophobic at first.

"You don't see whether the tyres are moving or not so you have little lights to show that, but nothing else. It was a bit abstract to sit there and not feel the wind, but the biggest change for me was the draft from behind - the cooling system that blows air in and I wasn't really prepared for that at the beginning.

But I got used to it all relatively quickly, said Schumacher.

As for how he performed, Schumacher said it's too early to tell.

Our setup wasn't optimal, he explained. "We had the Le Mans setup on a higher downforce track, which is why it felt slow and very sluggish. But of course that also comes from the 1000kg weight.

"You also have traction control, which is a completely different driving experience.

In terms of racing, Mick continued, it would be a little different because you share the car. That's exciting in a way.The car has to last 24 hours. It's a different challenge."

The only remaining question is whether Schumacher and Alpine will sign a contract - and it appears to hinge on whether the Renault-owned marque would allow him to hang onto his role as Mercedes' reserve driver.

We're in Austin now, Schumacher said when asked about a contract. "The focus is on that.

When we leave here, we'll look at everything again and then hopefully have a few options.