Departing Alpha Tauri boss Franz Tost would have preferred to sign Mick Schumacher for the 2023 season, according to the German driver’s uncle Ralf.
Rumours are now swirling around the future of 28-year-old rookie Nyck de Vries, with Red Bull top official Dr Helmut Marko giving him just three more races to prove he deserves the cockpit.
But according to 6-time GP winner Ralf Schumacher, it was always clear that Dutchman de Vries would have needed time to get up to speed in Formula 1.
“He was doing well and had already won a lot, but he also needed a lot of time for that,” said the 47-year-old former Williams and Toyota driver.
“When you know that drivers need a little longer, especially in a category where there is very little testing, then you have to say that it was surprising when Marko appointed that boy as a driver,” Schumacher told formel1.de.
Schumacher is historically very close to Austrian Tost, the team boss at Alpha Tauri who will be replaced by two-man team Laurent Mekies and Peter Bayer for 2024.
In the 90s, Tost worked for Willi Weber – Schumacher’s then manager – who asked Tost to accompany Ralf to race in Japan prior to his F1 debut.
Tost then worked as BMW’s track operations manager when Schumacher raced for Williams.
Schumacher now reveals that Tost, 67, actually wanted to sign Ralf’s nephew Mick for the 2023 season after the 24-year-old lost his Haas seat after two years on the grid.
“Franz had a completely different driver on mind than de Vries,” Ralf revealed.
“He knows that drivers take two or three years to grow and the driver that was available was Mick. But then came Helmut Marko who, for personal reasons or whatever, didn’t want to sign Mick.
“Marko seems to have a problem with the Schumacher name or personally with Mick,” Ralf continued. “Otherwise I don’t understand at all why there weren’t any talks, because you have to bear in mind that Red Bull doesn’t have a very strong market in Germany.
“Having a Schumacher in your Formula 1 team would have had a lot of positive influence,” he added.