Who is most likely to claim the remaining F1 seat in the driver market?

Who is most likely to claim the remaining F1 seat in the driver market?

Mick Schumacher once again suffered from bad luck at the F1 United States Grand Prix, but his performance demonstrated that he is deserving of a berth at Haas for F1 2023.

Haas has yet to choose Kevin Magnussen’s partner, hence there is one open spot on the F1 grid for the next season.

Over the past few months, the seat has been linked to Mick Schumacher, Nico Hulkenberg, and Antonio Giovinazzi, with the German pair leading the charge in securing the seat.

Daniel Ricciardo was probably Haas’ best choice, but the Australian finally declined their offer because he wants to take a sabbatical from Formula 1 next year.

Gene Haas, the team owner, told Schumacher that he must finish in the points if he intends to continue competing in Formula One with the team before the race at the Circuit of the Americas.

Having outpaced colleague Magnussen by more over three seconds in Austin, the German appeared on track to give Haas its first points since the Austrian Grand Prix in July.

On lap 34, Magnussen was left out on the track as Schumacher was brought in for new tires and as a result, Magnussen’s one-stop strategy paid off with a top-10 finish at this crucial point in the race. Meanwhile, Mick Schumacher’s strategy didn’t work out – not for the first time this season – but his race was entirely destroyed when he suffered damage from debris left after the Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso incident.

“I think we were on for good points today for sure, but it seems like we picked up a big piece which damaged the car quite a lot and then we couldn’t extract the maximum out of it anymore because of that damage,” Schumacher said after the race.

“We got it in the second stint and the car didn’t feel the same anymore, and I couldn’t keep the pace of before which was very promising.”

“It’s a shame as it feels like bad luck follows us.”

Similar to his F2 days, Schumacher continues to struggle in qualifying; but, on race day, he frequently outperforms the other Haas driver. Though Gene Haas has argued otherwise, nothing is breaking apart, especially in terms of strategy.

“When Mick and Magnussen came in, they both got the same tyres,” Gene Haas said. “When Mick came out again, he was in a group of cars and stayed with them.”

“Magnussen fell backwards to save his tyres, while Mick used them up… Mick then inevitably had to come in ten laps later and change tyres, which set him back. Magnussen kept his tyres and was able to complete 37 laps on mediums that no one else managed in the race… That’s how he managed to get a few points.”

It would be realistic to conclude that Hulkenberg might be Gene Haas’ favourite option given the way he consistently downplays Schumacher in the media. Despite Schumacher’s significant season-long improvement, Haas’ finances have been severely impacted by the high number of shunts, especially in the cost-cap era of F1.

The additional public pressure that the son of Michael Schumacher brings is another aspect outside of racing that can discourage Haas from keeping Schumacher.

Ralf Schumacher, Mick’s uncle, has frequently criticized team boss Guenther Steiner in the media. During an interview with Sky Germany early in the season, things did get heated.

Schumacher has likely demonstrated sufficient on-track performance to earn a third season with the squad. On the other hand, Hulkenberg is a proven performer who can both score points and drive the car home safe and sound, making him the perfect midfield team driver. The American team must make a difficult decision.

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