Ecclestone takes a pop at two F1 teams with Mick Schumacher and Red Bull comment

Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has claimed that Mick Schumacher would have been ‘better understood’ had he joined Red Bull. The son of seven-time world champion Michael spent two seasons with Guenther Steiner’s outfit as a Ferrari academy driver in 2021 and 2022 but failed to impress.

Schumacher struggled to make a positive impact during his two years with Haas. While the 2021 campaign was a write-off for both himself and fellow rookie Nikita Mazepin due to the grossly uncompetitive VF-21, the German racer also failed to make an impact with better machinery in 2022.

The 24-year-old scored points on only two occasions as he was outscored 25-12 by team-mate Kevin Magnussen before Steiner opted to replace him with the experienced Nico Hulkenberg for the 2023 season. 

Speaking to RTL about the 24-year-old’s fate, Ecclestone took a dig at Ferrari and Haas by suggesting he could’ve been coached better. He said: “He would have been better understood at Red Bull, for example, where he would have been helped and coached to the top. He has to fight, he has to persevere and show that he is still capable of good performances. 

“At best, people will then see him and say ‘We need him’ and not the other way around – that he is looking for someone to hire him because of his name. He needs to forget his name and develop as a person.

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While Red Bull juniors have a clear pathway to the top through AlphaTauri, Schumacher’s progression as a Ferrari academy driver stalled after winning the Formula 2 title.

The Italian constructor’s backing was spread across him and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, with the latter going on to drive for their World Endurance Championship Hypercar team after leaving F1 while the former was dropped at the end of the 2022 season.

After spending the 2023 campaign on the sidelines as Mercedes’ test and reserve driver, Schumacher sealed a full-time return to racing before the year was over. The former Haas man will be wearing Alpine overalls in 2024, although not on the F1 grid.

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Instead, Schumacher followed the likes of fellow former F1 drivers Giovinazzi, Brendon Hartley and Jean-Eric Vergne, joining the WEC grid as Alpine makes the step into the Hypercar class for the first time.

Discussing his decision to move to endurance racing for the 2024 season, Ecclestone admitted: “It is probably the only and best thing he can do at the moment. Hopefully, the [F1] teams will see him again and think ‘Maybe we made a mistake and we’ll give him another go’.”

While Schumacher’s name will be absent from the F1 grid for the second season in succession, the former F2 champion will be present in the paddock. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has confirmed that the 24-year-old will retain his current position with the Silver Arrows alongside his WEC duties next year.

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